Riskiest Assumption Test

To increase the chance of success, it is very important to identify and validate the risky assumptions that make up a plan. The Riskiest Assumption Test helps you identify the risky parts.

Download the Riskiest Assumption Test: PowerPoint (fill in format), A1 or A0.

Explanation Riskiest Assumption Test


The Riskiest Assumption Test is a handy innovation tool that helps identify the riskiest assumptions of a “plan”. It is a matrix with the impact on the vertical axis and the degree of certainty on the horizontal axis.


  • Helps to identify the riskiest parts of the plan
  • Helps to prioritize ideas testing
  • Easy and quick to apply
  • Better validation increases the chance of success



Before you start working with the Riskiest Assumption Test, it is important to have worked out the plan using the Business Model Canvas. The Business Model Canvas helps you to structure ideas so that you can extract concrete assumptions from them.




1. Study your detailed Business Model Canvas and place the assumptions in categories

Study the detailed Business Model Canvas and place the assumptions you make in categories. To create an overview, it can be useful to choose a color for each category.

For example:

  • Assumptions related to the Customer segment and problem (blue)
  • Must have elements of the proposition (red)
  • Pricing (orange)
  • Partners (yellow)
  • Channels (purple)
  • Etc.


2. Write the assumptions on post-its

Write the assumption as specifically as possible, but be concise at the same time. Make sure the content fits on a post-it.


3. Place the post-its with assumptions on the canvas

Proceed as follows: Appoint a facilitator who will stick the pile of assumptions to the canvas. This one stands by the Riskiest Assumption Test, tells the assumption to the team and holds the note in the center of the canvas. The team directs the facilitator and determines where the assumption will be placed. The team does this by calling up and down. After the vertical position has been determined, it is time to determine the horizontal position. The team members call left or right until the final position is determined. Do this with all assumptions.


4. Lead the discussion

When all the assumptions have been placed on the Riskiest Assumption Test, it’s time to discuss. Have each team member study the Riskiest Assumption Test. Which assumptions are still wrong? And why? Have the discussion and ensure that the risky assumptions that the team thinks they know for sure can also be substantiated with “hard figures”.


Tip: It is important to validate assumptions correctly. If during the discussion it appears that a risky assumption has not been validated correctly, it is wise to confirm or refute the assumption again with a new test.


Next steps

After the Riskiest Assumption Test has been performed, you will have insight into the plan’s riskiest assumptions. Now it’s time to validate the riskiest parts of the plan as quickly as possible with good experiments. Use the test cards to set up good experiments and the learning cards to draw the right conclusions.


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