Recently, I heard someone saying: “Innovation isn’t about saying ‘yes’, it’s about saying ‘no’ to everything but the most essential features.” At the time, I quietly thought to myself that this person just didn’t get it. Today, Seth Godin has reminded of the comment with his post on “Looking for yes.”
Innovation is all about delivering value to a customer. At the core of this is the notion of saying YES.
YES, I can make possible for you what others have not.
YES, I can improve your experience and lower the cost to you at the same time.
YES, I can not merely meet your basic requirements, but I can also delight you not by exceeding your expectations, but by redefining them.
Of course, it is important to say yes to the right question. This is why the first step of any innovation initiative must always be to understand your customer, your market, your product, and your capability. By listening carefully, you can identify the true, unmet need that your customer has and be able to map your innovation goals to filling the job the customer will hire your product to perform.
Having this focus on customer needs and aspirations will allow you to say yes to innovation and not waste time saying no to things that aren’t relevant.