Innovation is in the eye of the beholder

We can’t make a user love something we built or spontaneously declare us to be innovative.

We don’t get to decide if something is innovative – the market decides. And this is a perceptual judgment – how users feel and think – rather than me deciding that my hard work deserves the “innovation” label.

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We Can’t Schedule Innovation, But We Can Schedule Discovery - Rich Mironov's Product Bytes

mironov.com

We can not schedule innovation but we can schedule discovery

We can schedulediscovery : the intentional, organized, thoughtful, stepwise, interview-based search for real insights. We can regularly get out of our corporate bubbles and talk with (listen to!) large numbers of actual users/customers/prospects.

Because it doesn’t matter what our product managers (or executives or salespeople or investors) think… our ultimate users and buyers get to decide if something is valuable or entertaining or innovative.

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  • Include a ‘what we learned experiments’ section in status updates.
  • Collect instances where we were 100% certain of success but the initiative failed.
  • Share real discovery artifacts. “Here’s a two-minute video of a real end user explaining why price isn’t her issue, but our weekly invoicing made her cancel."
  • Frame discovery in investment terms: “We don’t know which stocks will go up/down tomorrow, so keep a balanced stock investment portfolio."
  • Promote smaller innovations: “This new workflow reduced abandoned carts by 4%."
  • Avoid “innovation theater”. It's not about post-it notes on the wall.

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