Only Great Is Good Enough

Giff Constable innovation, lean

Today Twitter brought to my attention an article in The Independent where Sir Jonathan Ive discussed how close Apple came to shelving the iPhone because of design flaws. “You have that horrible, horrible feeling deep down in your tummy and you know that it’s OK but it’s not great. And I think some of the bravest things we’ve ever done …

Innovation teams need generalists

Giff Constable innovation, startups

Startups need execution-oriented, “whatever it takes” generalists. After my talk at the AgileUX conference a few months ago, a soon-to-be entrepreneur came up to me explaining their intent to hire the best UX, best visual designer, best copywriter, best SEO person, best node.js person, etc etc and put it all together to make magic. Because it’s all about team right? …

Highlights from Andreessen’s Stanford CS183 talk

Giff Constable innovation, startups

I would imagine that by now most of you have discovered Blake Masters’ notes from his Stanford class with Peter Thiel. In class 10, Marc Andreessen was the guest speaker and there were a number of gems in Blake’s write-up that I particularly wanted to highlight and in a few cases comment upon. Mark Andreessen: It’s hard; entrepreneurs are congenitally …

Unhealthy Interpretations of Apple Mythology

Giff Constable innovation, lean

“And rather than listening to, or asking their customers what they wanted; Apple would solve problems customers didn’t know they had with products they didn’t even realize they wanted.” — Allworth James Allworth over at HBR wrote a nice post on Apple and how their focus on great products, rather than optimizing profitability, helped them beat the Innovator’s Dilemma. But …

The Zuck Highlights

Giff Constable innovation, management

Like many, I just read Mark Zuckerberg’s S-1 letter. There are two things I really appreciated: the focus on long-term value, and the results-oriented innovation culture it espoused. The letter states that the company wants to embrace risk and focus on long term value, not “maximizing investor returns” or quarterly performance. I’m glad to see more companies resisting Wall Street’s …

Collaboration vs Individualism is a False Choice

Giff Constable innovation, management

Susan Cain in the NYTimes wrote a broadside against collaboration, calling it groupthink. Now Cliff Kuang in Design.Co writes “the brainstorming process is BS.” Honestly, I don’t get the fuss. Isn’t it obvious that creativity and innovation is enhanced by both introspective and collaborative time? I’m only a fan of collaborative idea generation sessions *if* people have done their thinking …

Fear of the False Negative

Giff Constable innovation, lean, startups

I used to worry about false negatives, or killing a good idea too early. “Startups are not instant hits,” I would tell myself. That’s a true statement. All startups are a hard fight. Almost all startups take far longer than the “overnight-success” articles imply. But after years of creating new products and companies, I would rather kill a good idea …

Pride and the Pressure Cooker

Giff Constable innovation, startups

Last night I watched Morning Glory, a cute movie about a plucky, underdog tv producer who makes her dreams come true. All in all, it is not a terrible metaphor for innovating new products. She succeeds by applying creative thinking, willingness to take risks, good management, metrics-driven feedback loops, and sheer hard work. However, she doesn’t step up her game …