Hoping to innovate on your next web project?
Consistent, great work is all well and good, but let’s face it, projects that delight us with something beautiful, new and different get all of the buzz. Innovative projects seem simple, oftentimes completely obvious…once they exist. This leaves us to wonder why no one ever thought to do it that way before. So the question is: How do you incorporate innovation into your projects?
Usefulness lies at the core of any real innovation.
It’s not enough to say “Make it innovative.” The project still needs a clearly defined goal that will help further your business objective. Your goal also needs to provide some real value to your customers or help solve some problem. Which is a long way of saying, cool web content begins with some kind of an insight.
Don’t rely on your customers to lead you
“It’s really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” — Steve Jobs
Talking to your customers has never been more important but don’t expect them to guide you directly to your next innovation. Consumers often get it wrong if you ask them to describe their experiences. There is a lot of research out there that says we humans are notoriously bad at understanding and predicting our own behavior.
What about asking customers what they want to see? People tend to rehash current ideas already accepted in the market rather than articulating ways to improve on them. Innovating means producing the unexpected, don’t expect your customers to be the source of such solutions. But there’s no need to ignore them either, it’s all about what you do with their answers.
How to approach innovation
Be sure to ask customers qualitative vs. quantitative questions. Their feedback can help you find the initial insights you’re looking for, just be sure to dig deeper than the answers given to suss out what’s really going on with their experiences.
Sometimes an innovation occurs as a happy side product of a typical project flow. But this happens far less frequently than we imagine. If your goal is innovation, you should expect to engage in a somewhat more fluid process focusing on exploration, ideation and iteration to find that ah-ha moment.
Don’t be risk-averse. An innovation by definition is something new, it’s untested. That means it could fail. That can be nerve wracking if you aren’t very sure about the validity of your project’s goals. Can you handle the risk?
Once you feel the core insights are solidly pulled together, don’t spend an enormous amount of time perfecting the details. Launch as soon as possible and iterate to perfection with data from customers’ interactions with the real product.
Qualitative vs. quantitative link: http://www.surveygizmo.com/survey-blog/quantitative-qualitative-research/
Launch as soon as possible: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Release_early,_release_often