Cut through the fog of innovation by following these five principles to bring new products and services to market:
Look for a job that nobody has done adequately or affordably. Customers don’t so much buy products as hire them to do jobs in their lives.
Turn nonconsumers into customers. Sony entered the consumer electronics market in the 1950s not by trying to beat established radio suppliers but by introducing cheap, portable transistor radios so kids could listen to baseball games and music.
Don’t let “perfection” block “good enough.” Market offerings can be too complicated and expensive. People may want simpler solutions.
Do what your competitors don’t want to do. Your ears should prick up when you hear “That market is too small to matter” or “You’d lose money at those prices.”
Test your assumptions early. Apple’s attempt to make personal digital assistants flopped because the company assumed that people wanted a computer replacement instead of a complement. When you’re starting fresh, test a little, invest a little, learn and adjust.
—Adapted from “Think Like a ‘Disrupter,’” Scott Anthony and Clayton Christensen, www.forbes.com.