In the last article, we discussed techniques for getting stuff done in a large company. Now I’d like to talk about the related problem of innovating in a large company.
Unless you’ve worked at one of these large companies, you might be surprised to hear that innovation is even a problem. After all, we hear so much about it, and see the success of large technology companies, so we naturally assume that innovation is powering all this growth. But as we explained in the last issue, as organizations get larger, they invariably become more conservative, and less willing to take risks. Again, this is because large companies have much more to lose than smaller companies, so they get good at protecting what they have. But there are also substantial advantages to shipping product from a large company, and despite their risk-averse nature, your company does need you to innovate.
– Innovation via the 20% Rule.
As much as we might like to think that the great product ideas are the result of great strategic planning, and come down from the executive team, in many cases, the best ideas come from the bottom up. What’s great about the 20% rule is that so many ideas can be tried out. And when you inject the feeling of ownership that comes with coming up with the ideas yourselves, the ideas are pursued with more passion and creativity.
– Innovation via Skunk Works.
在大型组织中,很难得到许可n to officially explore ideas. However, once you have proven an idea, it’s remarkably easy to get the project funded. So long as you continue to carry out your official job responsibilities, I have always found that management is supportive – many times they’ll even pitch in and help.
One of the easiest ways I know of to innovate is to just watch (and listen) as actual users attempt to use your current product or a competitor’s product. Watch a few of these sessions and you start to see patterns of frustration and expectations. Watch some more and you’ll start to get ideas as to how to better meet the needs. Bring in an engineer that is familiar with the available technologies, and together you will start to come up with better ways of solving the problem.
关键是在实际目标用户面前获得产品，而不是早期采用者，肯定不是贵公司（包括您）的任何人。您也不需要正式的可用性测试实验室。您可以非正式地执行此操作，您通常可以将软件送给用户（理想情况下，在他们的本地人栖息地 - 他们的办公室，他们的家，商场）。
And you don’t just care about whether the software is usable or not. You care about whether or not the software is meeting their needs. Even if it’s usable, do they care? What problem do they really need solved?
Remember that innovation is rarely about solving an entirely new problem. More often it is solving an existing problem in a new way. So watching people struggle with their existing solutions is a great way to highlight innovation opportunities.
Every system has an implementation model that is the basis for how the product was built. But the user doesn’t think this way. He has a conceptual model in mind for how he wants to think about this problem and what he expects the system to present. Frustration happens when the user is presented not with something that reflects his conceptual model but instead reflects the implementation model.
When you spot these incongruencies, you have identified an opportunity for innovation (or at the least, an opportunity for significant product improvements).
I encourage product managers at large companies to reach out and establish relationships with interesting related startups. You can often help, and learn from, each other, and the nurturing you do might just save your company millions. There are many cases out there where the company that was acquired did not just choose the highest bid, but the company that also had the people they wanted to work with.
It is important that the acquisitions are handled well, as we all know most aren’t, but realize that innovation via acquisition is a powerful tool for large companies to keep expanding their offering and maintaining leadership.
So I hope you’ll try out some of these techniques. Your company truly does need you to innovate. Peter Drucker said “Every organization needs one core competence: innovation.” Innovation can absolutely happen in large companies. If you’re still not convinced, just take a look atwww.apple.com/iphone.。