Innovation is just not simply an idea
In short, an innovative concept is one that is sustainable, serves an explicit purpose, and has personal or economic value. Innovation is the combination of vision, planning, execution, and learning.
To have a truly innovative organization, the word ‘innovation’ must transcend all the fancy graphics and speeches, essentially embedding itself into the very DNA of the company to a point where an hour spent innovating holds the same value as a client-billable hour. However, the problem is that too many businesses try to develop new ideas in ways that aren’t productive. So, those innovative hours must be purposeful, strategic, and measured.
Put the widget in the hands of a user and let it evolve organically, adapting to their needs.
Don’t get me wrong, planning is essential. However, until you put your innovative concept in the hands of a [paying] user, you really cannot anticipate its full potential. Build a 70-75% product, get it in the hands of users, proactively collect their feedback, and let that insight guide the remaining 25-30% development through iterative versions. This allows the innovative concept to adapt to the community which will ultimately determine its success or failure.
I'm convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.
— Steve Jobs, Co-founder of Apple
My Innovation Process
I’m always thinking, dreaming, and wondering of new things or new ways of doing something which already exists. The ideas that stick are typically those that have more unknowns than knowns and will require me to learn from the experience.
For each idea, I build a web site and an investor pitch deck. This process forces me to think critically of all the various elements of a successful product (value, pricing, messaging, etc). If it all still makes sense, and I’m still passionate about it, I move forward.
With the vision and logic in hand, I try to see if others find value in the madness of the idea by working it into daily conversation with potential customers or investors. If I see excitement or someone imagining additional use cases, I move forward.
For this, I ask myself a series of questions: Is this something I can do myself? Is this something I can learn to do? Is this something I can pay to acquire? If the latter, is it something I can bootstrap? Should I pursue investments? Then, I decide and act.