Planning Poker for Innovation Ideas

Giff Constable innovation, product management

I’m currently in the middle of a project where we are helping a large company test out an innovation lab based on the “innovation studio” ideas. We are now in week 4. The beginning of the project was focused on learning, tons of custdev, and ideation.  We’ve winnowed down our ideas to 6, and need to choose our first prototype to test …

Why You Don’t Split Your Innovation Teams By Stage

Giff Constable innovation

(this post originally appeared on the Neo blog) Andy Weissman of Union Square Ventures wrote a piece the other day on chaos theory and startups. His conclusion was that making decisions, and deciding how you make decisions, is of the utmost importance. There are many approaches to making decisions. My current thinking can roughly be described as “lead with vision, …

Do Market Sizing Early, Before You Jump Into “Lean”

Giff Constable innovation, startups

Powerful new ideas often start with a spark insight: “Carpooling sucks! How can we fix it?” Or “Wow, these new smartphones might allow me to disrupt the entire taxi industry in a way never before possible!” Lean is great, but before you jump ahead with customer development, experiments and MVPs, it is worth taking two preliminary steps: 1. examine the …

Making Innovation Unsexy

Giff Constable innovation, lean

(This post was originally posted on the Neo blog) “None of my inventions came by accident. I see a worthwhile need to be met and I make trial after trial until it comes. What it boils down to is one per cent inspiration and ninety-nine per cent perspiration.” – Thomas Edison, 1929 Many years ago, in between startups, a friend …

The Post-Lean Era

Giff Constable innovation, lean

Stuart Eccles, CTO of Made By Many and early adopter of lean startup, half-seriously announced the other night after a few beers that we were entering the post-Lean-Startup era. At first I thought he was referring to something we’ve discussed many times: the pendulum has swung a little too far towards lean testing and could use more respect for vision …

Enterprise Innovation – A Proposed Structure for a New Business Studio

Giff Constable innovation

These are raw notes for an opinion piece on how to structure an “innovation” group. Comments very welcome. You’re a senior executive. You know “software is eating the world” and you have to embrace technology and disruption more aggressively. How do you approach it? If you are gunning for sustaining innovation (i.e. optimizations and extensions to your current business), then …

Innovation: to sandbox or not to sandbox?

Giff Constable innovation

Adrian Howard has a great talk on enterprise innovation up from the last Lean UX conference. In it, he is very down on sandboxed innovation groups. I actually both agree and disagree with him. I think sustaining innovation must be done within existing operational groups, and agree with many of the things Adrian recommends: training on customer development and related …

Favorite quotes from Creativity Inc.

Giff Constable innovation, leadership

I’ve been obsessed with Pixar for a while, and I’ve never marked up a business book like my reading of Ed Catmull’s book Creativity Inc. I looked on the Kindle website today and realized that I marked 63 passages in the book last May. I had previously posted favorite quotes from Pixar alumni. Here are my highlighted passages from the …

How Not to Design a Mobile App

Giff Constable innovation, lean, technology

Noah Lichtenstein of Cowboy Ventures recently posted an article to TechCrunch, “What Studying Students Teaches Us About Great Apps“. In their survey of 1,000 high school and college students, they asked about existing mobile usage, and then they asked the question, “if you had a magic wand to create an app that you would use every day, what would the …

What Pixar Got Right

Giff Constable innovation, management

Pixar is an inspiring place. In addition to prioritizing storytelling, they got a lot right when it came to process and human interactions.  Fast Company has a nice piece interviewing Pixar alumni, and I pulled out my favorite bits: “There’s still a back and forth between creative and the audience, and you can’t be like ‘if I build it, they …