In years gone by, it was common for organisations to launch products without a thorough understanding of the customer.
Someone high enough in the organisation would have a bright spark, and suddenly it would be the priority. The approach even worked sometimes.
Thankfully, we have matured greatly. We’ve moved away from captain calls towards customer-led innovation inspired by a deep understanding and metrics driving decisions.
A key learning for many first-time product leaders is that ideas alone are worthless.
Steve Jobs summed it up, “there is a tremendous amount of craft between a great idea and a great product”.
Hollywood would have us believe that life-changing ideas pop into your head with a creative spark, and 90% of the work is complete once they arrive.
But this fantasy ignores the other critical factors which make an idea a success.
As the old recipe goes, Innovation is “1 per cent inspiration and 99 per cent perspiration”. But it’s missing a giant part of the puzzle. The customer.
Building a product in a vacuum is a sure-fire recipe for failure.
You may have a million great ideas on paper. But finding a single customer problem worth solving is infinitely more valuable.