The Innovator’s Secret Weapon

Talk all you want about strategy and operational efficiency—the truth is, firms succeed because they offer something irresistible.

Erik Roth

We’ve done a lot of research around what really makes for a high-performance innovation team. What we’ve found is that, if you go to Silicon Valley or Berlin or Singapore or Israel and look for the entrepreneurs—individual founders—they overweight slightly on the vision and the collaborations and underweight slightly on the execution and learning. But again, it depends on the individual.

But in a corporate environment, … [ Read more ]

Erik Roth

One of the questions we often get asked is, “How do I get the best innovation talent into my organization?” It’s an interesting question because of course we all want to find the most talented individuals and the most high-performing individuals to drive some of our most important endeavors.

But as we look at innovation, what we’re finding is there just aren’t that many people who … [ Read more ]

The Innovation Commitment

To catalyze breakthrough growth, leaders must set bold aspirations, make tough choices, and mobilize resources at scale.

Anne Dwane

Consider comedians. Comedians don’t live in a different world [than] everyone else; they just see the humor in it. Likewise, entrepreneurs see opportunity where the majority sees mature, intractable markets. Entrepreneurial epiphanies come from a beginners mind, not a jaded one.

Brian Quinn

I see this dichotomy of conflict between what companies think of as their organic or internal innovation engine and their external innovation engine. As opposed to seeing that as all part of one seamless system where at every step I may have the initial inkling of the opportunity. I’ve identified this very valuable problem. I’ve got an initial concept. The first scan should be, actually … [ Read more ]

6 Skills That Wise Companies Harness for World-Changing Innovation

What does it take to truly change the world? In The Wise Company, Hirotaka Takeuchi shares the practices that help leading companies turn knowledge into lasting breakthroughs.

Creating High-Performance Innovation Teams at Scale

For innovation initiatives to succeed, they must be staffed with the right combination of talent.

Paul Graham

When a startup launches, there have to be at least some users who really need what they’re making — not just people who could see themselves using it one day, but who want it urgently. Usually this initial group of users is small, for the simple reason that if there were something that large numbers of people urgently needed and that could be built with … [ Read more ]

Rahul Vohra

[Sean] Ellis [has] found a leading [product/market fit] indicator: just ask users “how would you feel if you could no longer use the product?” and measure the percent who answer “very disappointed.” After benchmarking nearly a hundred startups with his customer development survey, Ellis found that the magic number was 40%. Companies that struggled to find growth almost always had less than 40% of users … [ Read more ]

Rahul Vohra

To increase your product/market fit […] spend half your time doubling down on what users already love and the other half on addressing what’s holding others back.

Ibrahim Gokcen

Failing fast and cheap doesn’t mean making bad decisions. It means complying within the constraints that you have, and learning how do you go faster or how do you test things faster. And then implementing the decisions properly.

Scott Belsky

Your challenge is to create product experiences for two different mindsets, one for your potential customers and one for your engaged customers. Initially, if you want your prospective customers to engage, think of them as lazy, vain, and selfish. Then for the customers who survive the first 30 seconds and actually come through the door, build a meaningful experience and relationship that lasts a lifetime. … [ Read more ]

Scott Belsky

Whether you’re building a product, creating art, or writing a book, you need to remember that your customers or patrons make sweeping judgments in their first experience interacting with your creation – especially in the first thirty seconds. I call this the “first mile,” and it is the most critical yet underserved part of a product. […] In a world of moving fast and pushing … [ Read more ]

Scott Belsky

Life is just time and how you use it. Every product or service in your life either helps you spend time or save time. […] The only exceptions are rare products … that add a time-consuming action to your plate while also making that experience faster than it normally would be.

Scott Belsky

Simple is sticky. It is very hard to make a product—or any customer experience—simple. It is even harder to keep it simple. The more obvious and intuitive a product is, the harder it is to optimize it without adding complication.

How Big Companies Can Outrun Disruption

Large companies can be easy targets for disruption, but Gary Pisano says there are steps that can keep them ahead of the innovation curve. Rule 1: Don’t emulate startup cultures.

Freek Vermeulen

Stopping doing certain things is a different route to innovation.

How to Shape Remarkable Products in the Messy Middle of Building Startups

Scott Belsky’s new book, The Messy Middle, covers an expansive range of topics, from constructing teams (“If you avoid folks who are polarizing, you avoid bold outcomes”) to culture and tools (“Be frugal with everything except your bed, your chair, your space, and your team”) to anchoring to your customers (“empathy and humility before passion”). We’re pleased to present Belsky’s introduction to his “Optimizing Product” … [ Read more ]

Taking the measure of product development

Is the way you measure product-development performance harming your company’s health? New research suggests that it might be.