Product Development and Design Thinking

Working like a designer means that new things are created and then rejected. Then something else is created and rejected. This carries on until a solution is found that solves everybody’s problem, almost everybody’s.

There are products that have served plug gaps in the market and then there are those that have made their own place. Product ideas can be instinctive or intuitive. However, creation of it, is a process which can either be definitive or iterative.

No one can create a product like an iPhone on one’s own. The Salesforce.com isn’t an idea of Benioff alone. The “things” are created, rejected and prototypes are built, improved & rebuilt. iPhone, Salesforce.com aren’t yet products marked “done”. The iterative process has a beginning but no pre-determined end (apart from the agreed deadlines). The process of iteration is so powerful, that a brilliant and revolutionary  product “iPhone” was dropped for “iPhone 3G”. And with iPhone 6S, all great phones of their times – are considered dead. The iterative process has a beginner, but who knows who will conclude.

Lot has been talked about “Design Thinking”, read this and this (a slideshare ppt at the end). It seems “Design Thinking” requires an organization culture and a spirit that translate into greatest of products. [Or is it the other way round, while the product is in the process of making – such culture & spirit organically emerge that protects the evolution of the product?] Here is an internal meeting of Apple around the launch of “Think Different” campaign, a glimpse of that spirit & culture.

(In the first half he talks about Product, Marketing & Distribution & how he wants to re-build all three)

I am sure that video digressed us from the topic! 🙂

Beginning and Improving

The one who conceptualizes the product may not be able to even imagine what creators, the observers & the users might turn it into. There are tons of product ideas, far more important is the process of finding the right one – and the process of giving life to the chosen one.

An important component of a successful innovation process is the visualization of ideas. The prototypes, I believe, must be as real and accurate as possible. The prototype must look and feel just like a finished product. Using a prototype calls for observations, constructive criticism & internal sales begin! If however, a prototype is at concept level & too much is left to imagination, it will not make the cut – more importantly it may become difficult to see the enormous potential it may possess had it been a living prototype.

Who Owns A Product?

The conceptualist? The Creator? The User? Or is it an irrelevant question? Who owns Wikipedia?

I believe, the ownership changes with evolution of the product. And once product reaches adolescence, whose characteristics does product possess the most – should be the owner!

The ownership should move from the ideator to creators once creators understand the product better than the original owner. And owner has to take that call of transfer of ownership, and must ensure that creators can take better care! The creators then must assist the product grow in the hands of users before the product is deemed fit for crowd-ownership. Once it is ascertained that the product has reached a phase where the value it provides to the crowed will be missed if not protected by the crowd – the product can then nurture the crowd. 🙂

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