May 25, 2011

Innovation is Attainable at Great Speeds

When balancing product design ideation and a quick time-to-market implementation, it’s easy to think of innovation as unattainable. But that is not so. In fact, it’s quite possible to innovate deliver products to market at great speed, especially if we’re talking about software applications. The question that needs to be answered is not whether or not we should succeed on innovation but what specifically is the area that needs to be innovative.

When we discuss innovation what we’re really discussing is business strategy.

Business strategy is concerned with setting a direction that will allow an organization to achieve a certain goal. In setting that direction what must be known is the specific market gap or need the organization will fill to compete in that market to achieve that goal. Knowing the market need is just one step. This is where UX steps in. We must, through UX methods including task analysis and user interviews, understand how individuals within specific market segments think about that market gap or need. Once we understand the customer of the product we can better understand where the value of innovation lies.

As of late I’ve been mixing UX methods to get maximum innovation in product design. One particular method stands out–Outcome Driven Innovation (ODI). With this method I’ve been able to insert one interview per product audience segment to understand what particular outcomes are important. Even if I don’t follow through on the next step of sending out surveys to similar audience segments I can easily see where the problems lie and where there is opportunity for innovation.