There was a time where I would work with my teams to get things 99.9% right before we went to market with a new product or service. Today, I have a very different view and approach to launching new innovations. I call it Progressive Innovation.
With the rapid speed at which new innovations and services are developing, it is no longer possible for any forward thinking company to fully bake everything before it reaches the customer – as by that time the customer has already moved onto the next thing, and your new launch, is most likely going to be redundant. Early engagement of beta / early users (both internal and external) is becoming critical in order to best understand the relevance and usability of a service or product.
The prosumer (producer AND consumer) of today doesn’t want to wait for the final finished product. They want to be a part of its development so that it really does, in the true sense of the term – ‘work for them’. You need to pluck the innovation out the hands of the developers and let potential users experience and drive the completion of the prototype. While it is important to seek breakthrough ideas, it is equally as important to innovate through rapid and alert incremental steps along the way.
Take our new jamvee™ service as an example. We launched this in July with a few small teething issues to still iron out. The market (customers, press, analyst etc) however have been so responsive to the service and are giving us some fantastic feedback in terms of how to further evolve it – not even two months into circulation. Our turnaround times on service evolutions are going from months to weeks – ensuring that our customers really do have a tool that is moving ahead with them, and for them.
We are also bringing more young and inquisitive minds into the fold – not only from within our business – but from the market place. July saw us host the world’s first cross border (Silicon Valley and Bangalore) Hackathon where we had developers get together to hack into our new jamvee™ service and pitch the next stage of development to us (on the eve of the public launch). We have some great ideas on the table and the team is eagerly working to see some of these features built into a service that is not even two months old yet. This is where it is at – thinking beyond getting things perfect straight away and beyond traditional intra-business collaboration – without the ego associated with potential pitfalls along the way.
In my next blog I’ll be looking more closely at the concept of ‘innovation beyond traditional inter-company collaboration’ and how working beyond just your immediate team can bring breakthrough progress…