Apple’s Guidelines to Product Innovation

Apple’s Guidelines to Product Innovation

Back in 2018 I was presenting to the Chief Marketing Officer of Fujitsu on my human centered design innovation process. It worked great for digital products and MVPs but somehow it wasn’t landing. At about the halfway point of the presentation, the CMO asked a straightforward question. “How do I create the next iPhone?” I had no idea. What happened next was a series of questions that I believe led me to unearth at least a portion of Apple’s product innovation guidelines. If I’m right let me know, if I’m wrong, also let me know.

It all started with this:

Augmented Reality User Experiences Still Need Work

Augmented Reality User Experiences Still Need Work

verb |ôgˈment| [ with obj. ]
make (something) greater by adding to it; increase: he augmented his reality by finding a special on foursquare. 

Search for Augmented Reality (AR) in the App Store or any Android store and you’ll find that the application will typically focus on the visual sensory perception of reality, some apps add in Wikipedia links via loc., some will show you where the closest ATM is, but all this can be done on a Google Map layer, and not be as painstakingly annoying to consume.


Making the mobile app simple, easy and fun

What can I say, I love trying out new apps, and I especially enjoy trying out new love location-based service (LBS) apps – except it is, when they get it completely and horribly wrong.

There’s little doubt that in the coming years location based services and augmented reality will shape the way we interact with our surroundings, search for products, and share information, and apparently a lot of other people think the same, which is why you tend to hear more and more these days about what’s hopping in LBS on your everyday tech blogs and in even more traditional media, i.e. the WSJ.

But this post isn’t about how great LBS is, it’s about how horrible some people make LBS. Forget Key Success Factors, let’s talk about Key Failure Factors or KFF’s.

What I mean by this is that mobile devices function in such a way that you have a need and then you use that device to fulfill that need. In the example of a photo, you see something cool, you snap that photo, and that need is fulfilled.

A few applications do an excellent job of fulfilling these needs, these applications are simple, they’re intuitive, and sometimes they can even even boas to be fun, and are growing at the rate of the plague in medieval europe. Unfortunately there’s only a handful of these at best, and the rest of the so-called LBS apps fall short of usability, they are in fact – painful – to use.

One such monstrosity is Whrrl, when started by Amazon veterans in ’07 was a forward thinking product indeed, but one that succumbed to what can only be explained as horrible execution. Why? Well it doesn’t make sense. It’s convoluted, it’s complex, it utilizes it’s own jargon that any new user has to learn, and best (or worst) of all, it has – get this – tutorials. Yes, tutorials.

Any phone application, or for that matter website that needs a “tutorial” is inherently flawed. Imagine – a google tutorial. You don’t need one because it’s just that simple to use. Remember web directories. They were fun to navigate weren’t they? And so now they’re done.

The user needs to “get” what’s going on from the moment they load the app / land on the page, if that user doesn’t “get” it within the first 15 seconds, chances or a repeat use / visit are slim to none. So ask yourselves objectively, if I were your regular tom dick or harry, how would I see this app. Would I get it?

If not, there may still be room to save the concept so fear not, here are a few simple ways to ensure that neither you, nor your product winds up as a jargon filled monstrosity understood only by the people who created it. :EXAMPLE:

The most important is. KISS – keep it simple, stupid, and the second is use design thinking, get everyone involved in the initial stages, but ensure there’s a goal and objective. Nothing worse than 40 cooks in the kitchen, and remember, the product should be understood by the technologically speaking lowest common denominator. In my case – my parents. If they get it. We’re good.

Three Methods to Ongoing Innovation

Innovation is an ongoing process that your company should be taking a strong stake in, and as an entrepreneur it should always be on your mind. Why? Because as long as you’re working towards goals so are others, process improvements happen all the time, and new ways of doing things will always keep on evolving. If you’re not evolving, you’re in a way killing your business.

Look at it this way, you may have a technology that at the moment can clean water in a manner that is thus far cheaper and more energy efficient than your competitors, you have a decisive competitive advantage because of this technology, however, you know that there are also engineers out there working on similar products, ones that may be cheaper and more energy efficient than yours? So what do you do, you innovate. You look for different processes, different materials, ways to improve the process that will help you keep that advantage.

Today, we look at that relationship, the one between innovation and strategy. In all there are really three ways in which you can approach innovation within your company, and each is designed to work a bit differently. Read the methods, and think about which one of these works best for your enterprise and how you can most effectively apply in.

1. Strategy Defines Innovation – The company collects CI, looks at the market and then defines a strategy, i.e. in 5 years time we want to be at point X, we want to have Y{abb65e2b6815f549a727af2ea9f3a377a727ddc064972a198a74f88a6b766686} of the market and be in Z countries. How do we get there. In this scenario innovation effects are pursued to deliver and ensure value to the strategy, and the goal.

2. Innovation Defines Strategy – The company through the most excellent ideas of its board, entreprenerus and others has developed a number of concepts. These concepts are mapped, and a strategic evaluation is conducted based on CI, market factors, etc.. the selected innovation then fuels the strategy of the enterprise.

3. Innovation and Strategy Inform One Another – This is an ongoing dialogue between the two, Innovation and Strategy both affect each other equally, and the C levels manage the process throughout.

In terms of startups and smaller companies, you will find that option two tends to work the best. Why? Because chances are that you’ve embarked on a business venture due to the fact that you had a few good ideas, and chose to pursue one of them. This is the innovation process for those that are starting, or launching something totally new.

With that, your product, service, what have you can be easily augmented and adjusted to suit market needs, additional products, support products can also be added to your product, this is where No.1 comes in. How do you get from A->B how do you grow, and what and where can you innovate to help your business grow.

The last is the hardest to manage, specifically as it needs constant and ongoing attention which most startups lack do to limited resources. In practice it’s strongly supported by larger companies in high-innovation industries, bio, clean tech, hardware & chip design, etc… However that does not mean you should forget about it, Innovation and strategy should always be informing one another, always.

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