When it comes to product ideation, it can often feel like you hit roadblock after roadblock. Like any successful product innovator knows, once you hit your stride, it’s hard to get the ideas down on paper as fast as you come up with them. So, how do you make sure that you’re being strategic and productive with your time?
We’re sharing four rules to live by for product innovators.
1. Innovation doesn’t have to mean new.
Sometimes the best innovation is just a simple solution to everyday inconveniences. Consider the things that you use regularly that work “okay,” but don’t work great. Think about the things you’re not 100% satisfied with, whether it’s how they operate, how easy they are to maintain, or maybe even additional features you wish they had. Now let that ball start rolling and start to think of the things that could be innovated. Reuse the parts that work well, but figure out where you can take a good product to greatness.
2. Listen… but trust your gut
In the end, a customer will be the one putting money into your pocket. So that means it’s important to listen to them. Feedback is an important way to help make sure your product will gain traction and ultimately be profitable. When listening, really try and be sure that you understand the motivation behind what they’re asking for and think about how that fits into the product.
That being said, it’s important to trust yourself and your innovation. Customers can often ask for a plethora of things without knowing the cost and time, while also not really considering how necessary of a feature it is. Make sure you are taking in a healthy level of criticism, while also not getting too carried away on always doing what a customer wants.
3. Keep focused on the why
While it can be easy to just “make something work”, remember the end goal of what you’re working on. Are you trying to make something easier to use? Maybe you’re trying to add a new level of functionality to a product that will make it work better. Whatever it may be, remember the cornerstone of why you’re doing what you’re doing so you don’t lose sight of the goal as you explore all possibilities.
4. Be ready to pivot
Remember that why we mentioned earlier? If you’re working on something that is no longer answering the why, maybe consider it a whole new innovation. You can either continue down that path, or earmark it and go back to your previous why. Pivoting is a part of the work and it’s important you’re ready to adjust as you go. Don’t be afraid to put a tangent project on the backburner while you finish one and come back to it. It may just be the creative break you need!
And remember— they say that innovation is born out of limitation. Use constraints such as resources, time, budget, and consumer preferences to help you stay resourceful.