Every entry filed under "Innovating"

Experiments that work


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


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


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

Socialise the idea


Introducing new ideas is hard.

By the time any company knows how to do anything, it has established working practices and vested interests. A new way means a new practice and potential offence to anyone associated with the old model. That may not be right, it’s just the reality.

One loosener that makes every step just that little bit easier: socialise the idea before it’s real.

Let people know what you’re thinking, see how they react. Ask for feedback, to contribute, to improve the thinking. Assuming you pay attention, the idea will wither and die or grow stronger – either way you win. On the way, all those vested interests become reinvested in the improvements they’ve created.

In other words, buy-in.

Not because of some clever change-management slight of hand that forces people down blind alleys, but through a genuine desire to do what’s right, and do it right.

Bring your people to the party and introduce your ideas to theirs.

Skippy strategy: Don’t wait for a big presentation. At the coffee shop, anyplace: “I have this idea … what do you think?” “How would it be if …?” “What if we …?”

Neatly filed under Innovating on May 31, 2015

Pushing the flywheel


Getting things started is hard work. Often times, you’re not even sure which way is up. There’s a lot of work to do and no progress to talk about. So many meetings, and crossed threads, and nil-sum assumptions, and politicking, and “we already tried that”s and “you can’t paint it blue”s.

Ever so slowly. Things … start … moving. Soul destroying effort, sole wearing foot-work. Any loss of momentum, everything sloooows.

Eventually. You can paint it blue, trying it THIS way DOES work. You work out win-wins that break down barriers, cross chasms and open doors.

In the end, a finish line.

It takes a lot of effort to get started. But if the cause is worth it, so is the effort. The trick then is to pick projects with causes. If you haven’t got one, find one. Give people a reason to sign up, to put their power to the flywheel, to keep pushing.

Fame and glory might do it. Meaningful work always does.

Skippy Strategy: Next time getting started is feeling like too much effort. Remember that even though it sucks, it’s normal. Find the meaning and dig in.

Neatly filed under Innovating on May 22, 2015