Every entry filed under "Innovating"

Good ideas are the ones that work

Ideas

First ideas are often clear, direct, and right on the money. You immediately see how the foot bone is connected to the head bone. Not all the details, but the pieces that build the whole. A joint, a connecting rod, some flexibility here and a pivot there.

Working the problem exposes the details. The colour, the position, the context, the properties, the exact specification. You’re on your way.

First ideas are just as often dead wrong. What seemed real is a mirage. The obvious route is a dead end. What looked like a pivot turns into an anchor.

One reaction: take out the dynamite, blast it through, stay on course by force of will and spend of budget. Hope momentum will carry you through. Save face.

Another: take one step back, re-view, re-imagine, re-work, re-think. Focus on the end game.

Don’t be swayed by the first idea just because it was number one. Look again. Be swayed by the certainty of how things are, on the ground, in reality.

Skippy Strategy: However sparkling the first idea, work the details, deal with reality. Good idea are the ones that work.

Neatly filed under Innovating on August 22, 2015

Never quite landing

Landing

Taking new products to market or new ideas to management, there comes a moment.

Exciting and a little scary.

They.

Say.

“Yes!”

Tentative, qualified, “let’s set up a pilot and see how it goes.”

But we got a Yes, and it feeeeels gooooood.

The first job of a pilot it prove the technical efficacy – that it works. And that should be the end of the game. But it rarely is.

Pilots have a habit of never quite landing.

One month, three, six months, two years later: a tweak and a tuck, you’re on the seventh go-round. It looks good, but not how they’d like it.

If this was public sector, you’d say the Politicians were getting in the way. If this is the private sector, they probably still are, just spelt with a small p.

Pilots have two jobs: to prove the thing works, and to give you a chance to learn the organisation.

Skippy Strategy: When you get asked for a pilot, don’t imagine it’s only about the product.

Neatly filed under Innovating on August 11, 2015

Experiments that work

Experiments

By the time you’ve been doing things for a while is likely you’ve got some things down pat, you know what works.

It’s also possible that you settled into doing things that way because, one time, you tried something, and it worked. You experimented, the thing span around pretty well and without too much noise, so huh, do it the same way next time. And the next.

Experiments that work can turn into the way we do thing around here. Without questions. And quick.

What if there was another way? What if someone suggested something that might be faster, leaner, smarter, cheaper? What about slower but more cohesive? Or using partners?

Would you embrace it as another experiment, or – you know what you know – grunt and keep on keepin’ on?

Change can look a lot like the kind of experiments that got you here in the first place. And most experiments that work, could work better.

Skippy Strategy: You make things up. Some of them work. Don’t get stuck. Keep experimenting.

Neatly filed under Innovating on August 1, 2015

Rub technologists together

Product

Rub two technologists together for long enough and they’ll spark a new product. Leave them longer and the feature list grows. Maybe one day they’ll take it out to meet the world.

If they do, and if they ever get past friends and shared DNA to real live customers, the product is good enough. For now at least, not forever.

The critical next step is to work out how to get more customers (and then get them). Treat it like an engineering problem if you have to: hypothesise, poke, review, but above all test it all in the real world.

Technologists like to build products but someone has to build the business. As soon as you have anything worth showing, take it out into the sun. For the moment, one more customer conversation is worth more than one more feature.

Skippy Strategy: As soon as you have enough of a product, start working out how to sell. The best people to ask how? Customers.

Neatly filed under Innovating on July 13, 2015

Attention and reaction

Trouble

Any time you have a great experience, do you think it’s luck or design?

Chances are, the first time, it was just one of those things. A spur of the moment interaction that got a good reaction. Someone paid attention, picked up the vibe, and tried it again. Over time, the ad hoc became standard MO.

Pay attention to reactions – especially when you’ve played the part forever. It’s the key to doing more of what works and less of what doesn’t.

Skippy Strategy: Next time you get an unexpected reaction, work out whether it’s something you added or removed that made the difference.

Neatly filed under Innovating on June 8, 2015