Meaningful innovation can be wreaked by connecting with the real world with diverse living people. Time to ditch the planning paper.
Google defines innovation as the action or process of innovating or creating something new. But is that sufficient?
Is creating something new, something that we consider a fool proof plan the only important factor to call a product innovative?
Let us dig a bit deeper into the concept of innovation.
From my personal experience
About a year ago, I was engaged as an intern in an organization where one of my projects in a workshop was based on Sustainable Development Goals. Persona building was one of the topics we were taught and needed to be applied in my project. A persona refers to a profile of a product’s typical customer. Personae are conceptualized in order to help a product manager understand key traits, behaviors, goals, responsibilities and needs of a specific type of user.
I had come up with a business plan that I thought was fool proof! To me it was an idea that everyone would want to invest in.
Fast forward to the day of presenting our projects. To my utter shock, I saw my plan crumble and fall apart into pieces, as it was with every other person who had participated in the workshop.
This was why it happened. Our products were targeted only towards our personae, who we had built very much like us So we had actually come up with products that we would sell to our own selves; failing to realize that the consumers in the market were not us. They were different people, with different needs, different problems, different requirements, different preferences. They were ‘real’ people and not just a profile on paper.
Get out there into the real world
Creators are so busy with building a product that they often forget that their consumers have different living conditions and different priorities, who might not be so thrilled about consuming their product.
I consider building something new as a privilege: it is an opportunity that requires one’s strong understanding and capability. However to make innovation happen, we need to step out of our bubble of privilege, security and convenience, and look at real-life people. We need to listen to real-life experiences. We have to listen and acknowledge our differences, because it is only by so doing that we can become a little less different. This is what makes us relate with them better.
So, is innovation just the process of creating something new? Not quite, it is much more and goes far beyond. It means creating something that helps- not just the privileged, nor the under privileged, but just helps people, people everywhere.
About the author
The article has been contributed by Shinjini Pal, a student of St Josephs High School, Matigara, Darjeeling.