in Failure, Lessons Learned, Problems Worth Solving, Uncategorized

PWS#2: The extra-healthy-smoothie that would prevent colleagues from eating too many cookies at work FAILED

Problem

At work I eat too many cookies. Around 09:30AM they are placed next to the coffee machine, and every time I get tea I’m confronted with them. What usually happens is that I start with half, and then all of a sudden have eaten five cookies. I end up eating so many that at the end of the day I have a stomach ache from eating too much sugar at work. Also, mentally I feel terrible because day after day I break the promise to myself that for once I would leave the cookies aside and have a healthy day.

Solution 

I thought: “What would enable me to stop eating cookies…? It should be something healthy, but it has to be tasteful…”. After having given it some though I came up with the perfect idea: healthy smoothies! And not just any kind of healthy smoothie, an EXTRA-healthy-smoothie with granola that would also really fill you. As soon as I came up with this great idea, I decided to do a two-week-no-cookie challenge at my floor. Whoever wanted to join could sign up. The goal was to eat less sugar at work, and reduce sugar intake outside of work.

ad for no-cookie-challenge
My advertisement to participate in the No-Cookie-Challenge
Impression of ad next to the coffee machine, with bowl of fruit next to cookies

Experiment results

Of the approx. 60 people on my floor (IT development), 5 people seriously participated (4 women, 1 man). An 8% participation rate is a first measure of how pressing this problem is: apparently not so much.

Lean Startup Machine Validation Board Extra Healthy Smoothies
Lean Startup Machine Validation Board Extra Healthy Smoothies

Explorative interviews

After the two weeks had passed, I talked to each participant. The responses were remarkable. People participated because they wanted to get rid of their belly (40%), felt they took in too much sugar (40%) and wanted to continue their Keto diet (20%). They took the cookies out of boredom or temptation (“if there is something in front of my eyes, I grab it”). The reply to “Do you take an alternative?” Is what invalidated my idea: 80% didn’t take an alternative, 20% would eat a rijstwafel (healthy snack). 

“My body says no, but my mind says yes. I need to train my mind to listen to my body”

Conclusion

Providing healthy smoothies as an alternative to cookies is a bad idea. People don’t need an alternative! There is no reason to explore this idea any further. Abort immediately and move on!