How to Build Innovative, Next-Generation Products Before Anyone Else Does

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Put yourself entirely into the mind of a consumer (except slightly in the future):

  • How they will think.
  • How they will feel.
  • What your business will look like from their POV.
  • How your product will seem from their POV.
  • What they truly desire.
  • What would make their life easier, simpler, or more enjoyable?

Completely “become the customer” in your mind. Forget about reports, stocks, the shareholders, the technical limitations, and the cost. For a significant amount of time, try and see everything through their eyes, not through the experienced eyes of an experienced businessman.

Try not to recognize the technical limitations taught to you in engineering school. After all, the customer doesn’t care about those things. They do not exist to a customer.

BECOME THE CUSTOMER

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“You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work back toward the technology – not the other way around.”

– Steve Jobs

Imagine the product that would make your life easier, better, or more enjoyable in someway. Now take this imaginary device and try your best to explain it to your team. It’s at this point that you may realize certain “impossibilities” of the product you’ve imagined. You may realize at this point that the technology needed to build this product is a decade away, or is still in the experimental phase.

START BUILDING THAT PRODUCT, REGARDLESS

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“You can’t just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they’ll want something new.”

– Steve Jobs

Then, you simply build the product that you wanted, with all hands-on-deck to push along the development of any aspect of it that is not yet possible. Double the R&D funds to that department, if necessary. They key is to build the product that you imagined, and to do it faster than originally seemed possible.

You imagine first, then you make it possible.

“In the end, for something this complicated, it’s really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.”

– Steve Jobs

That is how you disruptively innovate an entire culture with a single product. By doing so, you get to the prize (the fully developed product) several years before your nearest competitor. Everything they do will be a rip-off of your invention, or a counter-move to catch up.

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