8 Steps to Better Product Innovation

Eric Rees’ book Lean Startup popularized the term Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and it has become the first step for many on their journey in mobile app development and product innovation.

It is built on the foundation of the Build-Measure-Learn approach to product innovation. This model of mobile app development creates feedback loops and validated learning that is integrated into the development.

Eight years earlier, Jane Cleland-Huang and Mark Denne published Software by Numbers and defined Minimum Marketable Feature or Minimum Marketable Product (MMP). This may sound closely related to the MVP. The difference lies behind and within the product. Although both work to ship a product that has core functionality, the MMF/MMP has a deeper understanding that evolved out of the MVP stage.

Although the difference between these two concepts is important, we can chat your way through which would be best suited for your mobile app development. What is more important to product innovation is the following;

Launch. Launch Now. Launch Immediately.

My first advice to all entrepreneurs is ship. Although research is key to the development of a product, the research when a client is working with your mobile app is invaluable. Get it in a client’s hand as soon as possible. The launch can be to a small, select group of users. But ship immediately.

Don’t scale

Your instinct is going to be to scale as quickly as possible. Don’t. You will build a huge, process heavy app that might fail. The point is not to get 1000 customers on your MVP. Get five, serve them well, learn and focus on product innovation. As an example Airbnb founders initially had homes of their first customers professionally photographed. Listings improved, conversions went up and they and their customers, present and future, learnt a great deal.

90/10 Solution

Coined by Paul Buchheit, the idea is to accomplish 90% with 10% of the time, effort and work. This also relates to not building the whole solution. Solve the most pressing concern with the least amount of tech required and then build on that dependent on the feedback. Read Launch again for more on why.

Focus

Talk to your user, build a great product. There will be lots to distract you as a startup entrepreneur. Funding, marketing, conferences, talking engagements, VC’s. These are great and they are a distraction. Put your head down and focus on launching. Talk to users constantly and evolve with their needs.

Choose your customer wisely

And fire them if necessary. It is better to have 10 devoted customers whose problem is burning, than 10000 customers who might need assistance. Go where you are needed, be led by the problem. Product innovation is only innovative if it solves a pressing problem. Don’t get drawn into mediocre when you can tackle and solve exceptional

Talk-Build-Iterate

Then repeat. Then repeat. Ad infinitum. Until you sell, or close your company, this is what you should do. It is a successful company’s mantra.

Do less, Do it well

It is enticing to sign the big corporate with the big job. This is not always a great move. Payments can take too long, and the development may cost too much. It is enticing to solve a problem 1 billion people have. But how do you get to know a market that big and how many customers can you really test with. Start with less, do that exceptionally well and then grow. Your ten devoted customers will help you.

Be Nice

I have worked with great entrepreneurs and corporates who are nice, the work goes faster, better and easier for all. It really does. After a decade, we have the stats and war wounds to back that up. But being nice isn’t just about others. Take care of yourself. Rest, eat well and exercise.

Ultimately, whether you build MVP, MMF, MMP, MVE, that is the easier choice. Work with a well established mobile app development company on your product innovation and they can assist you with deciding. As an entrepreneur, what is far more important and pressing is how you behave.


About the Author
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Richard Barry

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CEO of Polymorph

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