Design thinking #6: Launch. Why we’re here.


Design thinking #6: Launch. The final part in our mini-series on design thinking looks at the whole reason for the process – to launch something innovative and possibly transformative.

As I wrote last week, innovation is more than the MVP, even though the temptation to ship your idea is sometimes irresistible. That aside, of course, we innovate so that customers get a new, better and or different experience of your brand. Momentum towards a launch is one of the innovator’s key challenges.

During the course of a project, a company often shows itself to be made up of lovers and fighters. Lovers can’t get enough of innovation, change, disruption and the uncertainty that comes with ‘new’. Fighters don’t get it. Fighters resist change for any number of reasons; mostly because they have a different agenda or objective.

Ask a salesperson to focus on anything longer than the time it takes to hit a target and you’re asking a lot. After all, that’s how they get paid. But the imperative to get the new thing into the supply chain remains a critical metric for innovators. Unless we can demonstrate real, actionable and tangible benefit, we aren’t achieving against brief.

The long-term prognosis for your new product depends on the quality of your innovation project and how determined you are to keep assessing, testing and developing until you achieve the truly new. Steve Jobs is known to have been obsessive about the consumer experience that he designed into everything he signed off. We can look back at some of the decisions he made and get sniffy in hindsight, but it’s hard really to criticise the delight delivered by most Apple products, even the ones that are iterations of earlier ideas.

And here you have it: the part of the whole design thinking process that we’ve been aiming at.

Whether you launch an MVP or the most beautiful and well-conceived finished product you can, the act of considering all possibilities will help you to achieve a far higher quality of output than is otherwise possible.

Throughout this mini-series, we’ve talked about using unique insight to inform your vision of your marketplace, now and into the future. This also affects your decision about what to launch now and what it might become – for example: eight versions (depending how you count them) of the iPhone in nine years. You may decide that your short-term need is a simpler product development, but running the innovation project will always deliver a better outcome.

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