5 Steps to Better Product Innovation
The most successful innovations are those which act as lubricant to unseen process friction; they identify an industry pain point, recognised or not, and relieve the affected. It’s this direction, understanding and focus that creates better, more profitable solutions. In this quick guide to better product innovation, we’ll explore five simplified steps to better products that might seem obvious but can be serious pitfalls in product development.
1. Know your audience
Start with the who and the rest will follow. Your product’s audience needs to be targeted and highly specific. Even if there are multiple types of user, you need to define them. Personas can be helpful; put yourself in the shoes of your customers to identify their needs and pressures to ensure your product doesn’t miss a trick or add complications.
2. Trust your experience
Information feeds innovation. You’ll need to be up to date and well informed about your target industry, and the best way to do that is to have experience. When you’ve faced a problem, you’re better placed to find the solution. Even if the idea came first, invest real time to understand the problem it solves. Get experienced and you’ll get your product.
3. Prioritise and minimise
If you did the last two steps, you’ll be have a much clearer view of what’s important to your product. Prioritise features to reduce the time to market. If there’s a single use-case, can you strip it down to a single feature? Once you know what’s most important, you can schedule development of other features for further down the line, it means monetisation is possible sooner.
4. Value it realistically
You’ll need to account for monetisation sooner or later, and for that you’ll need to value the product. More than a matter of equations (although that will inevitably be part of it), you should be concerned with the real value for users. What resources does your solution afford your clients? What’s its impact on their bottom line? Your experience will help here.
5. Listen to your users
Just because you’ve reached MVP (minimum viable product) stage, doesn’t mean your work is done. Speak to your users and find out what works and what doesn’t, how your product affects them, and what they want next. It’s seems obvious, but listening to the end user can have a profound effect on your product. It means your next release will be even more valuable to users.
For us at Oxygen Ventures, both founder knowledge and monetisation awareness are important identifiers of smarter innovations, but there’s also often a spartan quality: they don’t come with excess baggage and filler concepts. Newsmodo was a simple idea, a way to connect freelance journalists with publications, and its founder Rakhal Ebeli had a wealth of experience in his field.
We ensure our founders have a minimum of 10 years of industry experience. It means they can accurately estimate the value of their offering and know the mindset of their potential customers – which from our perspective is invaluable. The benefits are wide-ranging; from faster to-market times to better customer satisfaction, businesses built around well-defined markets are poised for better penetration from the get-go.