Tag Archives: Lean Startup

Until You Have Creative Skills, Innovation Tools Are Useless

CreativityCheck out this insight:

The same holds true for innovation: Innovation tools can’t help if you don’t have certain skills mastered.

The best—and the worst—way of learning about market demand is to ask the customer

experimentation leads to innovationWant to know what customers want? Ask them, but don’t believe them; rather observe them in their environment.

It’s the best way because potential customers can answer this question better than any self-proclaimed marketing experts can with their fancy reports, focus groups and all.

It’s the worst because customers don’t really know what they want. They know what their problems are, what they like, and what they don’t need. But they don’t know what you can develop for them that they really want. Don’t believe them if they tell you; they have less imagination than you do.

People follow people, not frameworks


Leadership (Photo credit: pedrosimoes7)

Social networks and social media have given voice to the voiceless, it’s a beautiful thing. More people can post stuff through the various channels we have at our disposal for the various types of media we can use to communicate. But, counter to what it has enabled us to do it’s also brought less critical thinking.

For example, it isn’t a secret what type of content gets the most traffic and clicks: lists.

You see them everywhere! And it won’t stop. Driving our voracious appetite for lists is our desire for cookie cutter ideas, as well as having more time for ourselves in our hectic lives. The problem with “lists” is that they don’t make the distinction between topics that are more art than “checklist” driven. Most of these lists are dumbed down and create the perception that following a template will yield a predictable outcome.

And most people are not conscious enough to think for themselves, so they mindlessly follow them.

List posts get shared and bookmarked all the time, yet I don’t think people come back to them after that. Mostly they serve the purpose of providing the reader a short-term reward with the feeling that they read something useful during the day.

But did it really move them? I doubt it.

It is this same issue that has powered and given rise to “framework fatigue”.

Quick and Dirty Blueprint for Customer Development

customer development

This is a guest post by Jonathan Lau, a growth hacker.

Alright, you’ve got the idea, now how do you quickly and cheaply see if anyone will pay for it? Despite all the hype about new PPC technologies and social media marketing strategies, I have found that for companies starting out, emails and phone calls remain the most effective tools for customer development.

Follow this blueprint for a cheap and easily scalable customer development strategy that people actually respond to.

The work flow is simple:

When everything becomes a toaster less is more

Incremental innovation can have transformational effects, but we must also understand the limits of pursuing further efficiencies.

Yesterday, I came across a post on Gizmodo about everyday products that were improved to be perfect. Just look at them, I know you’ll want to have a few of them. Though none of them are Apple products, Apple is probably the one company that any of us can point to that makes us crave their products.


Any talk of recent breakthrough innovations usually start with the iPhone, iPod and iPad. Yet what many don’t know is that Apple invented neither of them. Rather they, with their own point of view, made them accessible.

There are many factors that go into innovation adoption, one of them is timing, the other is the one most don’t get right. Our adoption of Apple products had to do with more than one thing, but the fact that they’ve made our interaction with technology as simple and seamless as possible is a big one. Whether or not Apple understood this from the beginning, it’s no secret that people gravitate towards simplicity.

But most businesses and people go for its common enemy: simplistic.

Here are the main differences between the two:

3 criteria your business ideas must have for them to work

idea selection in innovationThis is part three of the series on how to leave small thinking behind. In the first post, I showed you a simple technique for coming up with radical ideas. On the second part, I showed you how to evaluate ideas so they don’t fit into “me-too” territory. Here, I’ll tell you how to determine which ideas might work.

A short recap from part 1 and part 2:

In part 1 of this series I elaborated a little bit on how to shift from “me-too” thinking to “radical thinking” by taking your existing strategy and stretching it to an extreme, and scaling them back a little bit. This technique yields ideas that are impractical, super expensive and dangerous. But you can scale them back a little bit to make them doable.

In part 2, I showed you how to further filter those initial ideas by using an evaluation criteria of creativity, business, and people impact.

Great, but after you’ve developed a list of radical ideas how do you decide which ones to pursue?