Does Innovation Start With Customers, or Your Employees? Do Customers Need Freedom, or Do They Prefer To Be Handheld?

Raw Transcript

Good morning everyone and welcome to think future podcast I’m your host Chris Kalaboukis and once again we’re coming to you live from deep in the heart of Silicon Valley California it’s a beautiful day here today we’re finally seeing some sun it’s going to be.  Probably in the ninety’s summer go and absorb some sunlight get a little vitamin D. today like you have been able to for the last little while.  Absorbing.  Is.  Something we definitely need to do on the innovation front.  So a lot of.  Tips and Tricks and guides on developing innovative new products and services start with the customer.  A lot of them look at the customer and they say what does the customer want.  What does the customer need.  We’re told to observe the customer and see things from their perspective to identify what they need.  And not what we can do.  What does the customer want what does the customer need.  Now let me ask you another question.  Apple.  Arguably I would say arguably because I think there is there are many more innovative companies out there but arguably Apple shows up as the number one most innovative company in the world.  Over and over again in surveys of innovative companies so do you believe that Apple is an innovative company.  If you say yes.  Then that first maxim it all starts with the customer it all starts with observing the customer and understanding the customer.  And figuring out what the customer wants.  If you ask me is not what Apple does at all in fact I believe Steve Jobs himself said that the customer doesn’t really know what they want.  And that it’s up to him it’s up to Apple to develop the experience and the ecosystem for the customer and then give it to the customer.  Now if you are an Apple or Android person as in you have experience both Apple and Android you’ll.  You probably understand that the ecosystem there are very very different very very different.  That the Apple ecosystem is very.  Sort of regimented structured as close to it’s you gets what Apple thinks you should get and they will continue pestering you with updates as long as they wish to and maybe eventually you will agree and the update will happen but think about the Apple ecosystem is that it is all-encompassing and guides you along.  You don’t really have much of a choice if you want to put a which it on your home page of your phone you can’t do that you can only put icons you can only put icons in sort of icons you can only create groups it’s very rigid and that’s just the US That’s just the user interface there’s a lot of rigidity to it.  So did they take customers preferences into account did they start with the customer when they developed the i Phone I say no it was a vision for Steve.  So I would argue that Apple is not innovative and has been if they did for a long time but that doesn’t mean anything because there’s still plenty of people who purchase their products.  You see.  Here’s the thing with this it all starts with the customer thought.  Is that we are all assuming that the customer really knows what they want we were assuming that the customer has some idea of what they need there have an intent to.  Purchase that thing or whatever or obtain whatever they’re looking for.  And they have this intent to do these things but the reality is that whatever they’re looking for whatever they’re asking for whatever they want may not be what they need.  So.  It’s not just a customer is always right scenario it’s a blend it’s a blend of what the customer wants and what we feel is best for the customer because that is if you think about it that’s where Apple sits and waits it’s in the other world where the customer is always right and they make changes paced on what the customers are looking for and.  In that scenario it’s a bit more wild west because every customer is looking for something different every customer can reconfigure their phones any way they like.  But by the same token some people don’t like that.  So you’ve got four different sets of things going on you’ve got people saying the customer is always right and we’re going to do it or the customer says we have people saying the customer really doesn’t know what they want so we’re going to provide guidance for the customer.  You’ve got Let’s give the customer tools so they can build stuff in the certain customers who do want to take stuff and create their own thing create their own ecosystems create their own interfaces.  But then there’s other customers who love to be handheld they don’t want.  And they don’t care about reconfiguring their phone they just want a phone that works and is solid.  So when it comes to innovating in these spaces when it comes innovating period because a lot of people think that innovation requires.  Some kind of economic benefit it is not innovative unless it’s a billion dollar business or Lisa some kind of business that you can make a lot of money at because I would argue that there’s plenty of innovation that’s out there that you can make nothing at it’s very very innovative ideas I’ve seen tons of them tons of extremely innovative ideas that are not economically viable they’re just not.  But they’re innovative you can’t say they’re not innovative so I would disagree that innovative ideas have to be economically viable.  But when it comes to innovation then you have to look at these four categories you have to look at the customers who want to be guided and you have to look at the customers who want free range then you have the customers who then you have listening to the customers and then you have what telling the customers what’s best for them and in those four quadrants you have to balance those four quadrants together if you are looking for an innovation that scales across the board to many people.  So all of those things have to be thought of when you’re looking at developing innovative products and services so it doesn’t all necessarily start with the customer.  Sometimes it starts with your employee.  Sometimes it starts with what we feel is best for the customer.  Read a very interesting.  Book the other day algorithms to live by and there was a very interesting quote in there on data and they were talking about.  Making decisions based on data points now this is something that I’ve always believed and I’d always believed that if we had enough data if we had big enough data and fine enough data that we would be able to predict and make decisions on anything so if we had knew enough about a customer and what the customer did because customers leave trails in the world of trails on the Internet they leave all these trails all over the place and we were able to gather all of this data and pull all this data together and run some predictive analytics and machine learning against this data we would be able to predict with almost one hundred percent certainty exactly what the customer intended or what the customer wants.  And this story showed me that sometimes when you’ve got too much data.  You get the wrong results because you have no idea what data is valuable and what data isn’t valuable.  So when it comes to innovation.  When it comes to developing new products or services.  It’s not just a customer it doesn’t all start with a customer it starts with everyone it starts with your employees search with the customers search with social media it starts with everything so you need to absorb data from all areas in order to come up with new innovations that’s it for me for today see you next time until then don’t forget to think future.