Tom Hulme from Ideo, a business design consultancy, had sensible and smart things to say about launching new ideas, services and businesses in the digital age. He told us that, because social networks and services are now intertwining, the life of ideas is shrinking. They can blow up in a blaze of buzz very quickly, but just as quickly disappear from our consciousness as we move onto the next thing.
In this world, having viable, flexible, reactive business models, not rigid business plans is what businesses need to succeed. He had 3 points of very good advice:
1. Design flexible systems. Rigid ideas and businesses can’t react to change at pace. Business models should be flexible systems which can change quickly.
2. Design through your customer’s eyes. Start with what they want and how your service will genuinely benefit them. Use the data and tools freely available online to investigate customer behaviour. This is reverse innovation - write your press release and FAQ’s first as a way to get to grips with how people will experience your idea.
3. Launch to learn. Like Aza Raskin, he believes in testing an idea as quickly as possible, it’s just too slow to craft the perfect magnus opus. In the Internet age, we can develop a hypothesis about an idea/business and just do it, using accurate feedback in the real world to learn - there is only so much we can learn from focus groups and market research, simulated research environment. And the process is slow.