Posts Taged innovation

Top 5 Product Design Strategies

Product Launch Mind Map (5)

“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like.  Design is how it works.” ~ Steve Jobs

Getting from Point A to Point B in the product lifecycle requires an adaptive, structured and innovation-driven approach that organizes all the touchpoints to create a memorable journey. So without much ado, here are what we believe are the top 5 product design strategies:
  1. Strategy that lucidly defines organizational directionThe ideal strategy is a combination of defining the Business, Design and Product Service design strategies. These in essence answers what a business should do (with emphasis on looking beyond the current cycle), decide on what to create (again, stressing on long-term action) and finally on how to create.
  2. Design & Business is an inevitable marriageA superlative strategy evolves when business and design co-habit to create everlasting business impact. It is all about getting the creative and business benefit puzzle come together and speak aloud.
  3. Design First, Technology LaterA design approach can be effectively used as a driver for innovation and Business Design needs to be successful in telling the right story at the right time to the right person. Once the ‘what’ has been answered, the ‘how’ is just how we manage technologies and platforms that hurtle forward around us.
  4. Design Strategy PanoramaThe Design Strategy traverses through the design process elements in a seamless manner that ultimately creates consistency. This process had “Design as Strategy” and “Design as Tactic” at different ends of the spectrum.
  5. Design Strategy is a discipline in motionDesign Strategy is a multi-faceted discipline that is based on context and research, with an outcome based, long term approach.
In Conclusion,
Design drives innovation,
Innovation empower brands,
Brands generate loyalty,
and finally, loyalty helps sustain profits and further innovation!



Our Book: Mystery to Mastery – Ideation to Productization Playbook


Intrapreneurship vs. Entrepreneurship Dilemma


Though the terms “Entrepreneur” and “Intrapreneur” have existed and been part of the corporate business world for decades, there is still a lot of confusion about how one relates to another. While the two terms are dissimilar, there are resemblances and advantages to both styles in practice.


In its simplest form, most people believe intrapreneurs are internal entrepreneurs who behave in the same ways, have same stimuli, and respond in similar fashion. They couldn’t be further away from reality! Let’s try to break down the differences and similarities.

While both intrapreneurs and entrepreneurs share entrepreneurial DNA and have a very deep passion for innovation, they are very different in the sense that they require different set of skill sets to be successful in their respective environments as depicted in the following diagram.


While there isn’t a holy grail achieve entrepreneurial & intrapreneurial greatness, the following qualities are expected for success:


Key Questions to ask yourself if you are in a dilemma which route/role to choose:

  • Can my innovative ideas be implemented internally or do I look out?
  • Would I work under the framework of a large company with its available resources or start on my own from scratch?
  • Is job security very important to me?
  • What’s my appetite for risk?
  • Do I get excited or intimidated by the thought of managing my own business?
  • Can I navigate through the existing culture of the company, or would I want to create my own?

Intrapreneurs get as much of the rewards as entrepreneurs i.e., visibility, power, money, growth opportunities, networks, and most importantly, the opportunity to create something new — without much of the risk – financial bankruptcy, major failure, etc.

Having said that, Entrepreneurship is for anyone who holds the zeal and tenacity to peruse his/her dreams fearlessly. However, it is completely a personal decision if one wishes to play under a pre-built structure/framework or create a roof of their own (and the house as well). Figure out which category you fall into and rock your game!


Our Book: Mystery to Mastery – Ideation to Productization Playbook


Reverse Ideation: Turning the Problem on its Head!

Design Thinking

Ever seen a court drama scene? At some point, the defense lawyer would invariably scream, “How can my client be guilty?” And no, it’s not a rhetorical question! That question begs to be answered and in the process, everyone involved would come up with their own ideas on why the defendant is guilty. Now cut to real life and do the same thing. We all try to engage in normal ideation process in which we begin with a problem and move towards a solution. But another (and equally interesting) form of ideation brainstorming process is called ‘Reverse Ideation’. In case of Reverse Ideation, we undertake a journey from the solution to the problem.


Reverse Ideation = Negative Brainstorming

Instead of asking how to solve the problem, reverse ideation focuses on how the problem can be aggravated.  

Figure 1: Ideation vs. Reverse Ideation


Reverse Ideation can be used as a powerful Design Thinking (through brainstorming) technique to get different perspectives on a problem. It becomes quite handy when we have a team with low morale, lacks energy, or is hostile to be less judgmental about new ideas. We can use this technique in combination with other ideation methods to get the optimal level of participation and outcome.


Let’s take an example of how to prevent people from jumping traffic signals and prevent accidents. Let’s write down the problem statement:

“How to prevent people from jumping traffic signals?”

Now let’s reverse the problem statement:

“How to make people jump traffic signals?”

Don’t you already start seeing how a new perspective emerges to reveal some very astonishing outcomes? Here are some of the few “reverse” ideas that emerge:

  • Randomly change the sequence of traffic signals
  • Short duration of Green for one side and long one for another
  • Shut down the traffic signal with no traffic police coordinating
  • Make motorists restless with endless wait

Let’s treat these inputs problems and try to find solutions for each of them. At the end of the brainstorming session, you would have a long list of ‘reverse’ solutions. It’s now time to scrutinize each idea in reverse and find a potential solution. For instance, the discussion may go along these lines:

Table 1: Reverse Ideation Process

And this would go on till the divergent reverse ideas get a life of their own, and a solution is born.


  • Reverse Ideation is a powerful design thinking tool to generate creative outputs
  • It is fun and often improves the morale of the teams that are low on energy or are cynical
  • It works best when people are more analytic than creative and are able to conceptually reverse the problem.
  • Characteristics of the Group:

Figure 2: Team Traits

  • It does not need too much of training
  • Reverse Ideation can be done both remotely or through face-to-face facilitation


Reverse Ideation is one of the very good methods to engage in imaginative problem solving and can lead to robust solutions. The application of this technique is typically for technology scouting and innovation through constraints. Reverse Ideation probably also has roots in human psychology. We sometimes (or mostly) are wired to be cynical and judgmental about ideas. This very weakness of ours is put to best use in Reverse Ideation. After all, to find the devil in the detail, we have to be devil’s advocate.


Our Book: Mystery to Mastery – Ideation to Productization Playbook



Design Thinking: The Continuum of Innovation


Some would vouch that left is more important; others would swear by the right. But which one is more important? We are referring to our brain if you didn’t get the drift. When it comes to creating a product or an innovative solution, what should we be relying on? The left analytical side or the right creative side? There is no definitive answer. What is definitive is “Design Thinking!” Design thinking is a mindset and set of principles that engages both analytical and creative thinking for solving a customer problem. Till now Product Managers have been heavily relying on number crunching to find a solution to a customer problem. But in the current technology landscape, innovation and winning can only come from design thinking- but only if applied appropriately.

Before we delve intoBuyer’s Journey in SaaS Ecosystem’ in our next article, we would like to set the stage for design thinking. And “Why?” you ask?For the simple reason that it is going to push the frontiers of Product Management to deliver breakthrough innovations and competitive advantage.

So what is Design Thinking?

In this age of innovation-hungry and competitive-advantage driven companies, design thinking is an approach to solve customer problems by combining right-brain creative thinking with left-brain analytical thinking. But more than that; it is all about the journey and not the destination.

The customer problem might manifest itself in multiple, unknown and non-linear ways. In the same way, the understanding of the solution would always fall in the realm of ‘known’ and ‘unknown’ and that should be the starting point of innovation.

New age Product Managers should comprehend the core concept of starting with the unknown and learning as they go into the process by playing small but fast bets. The focus of Product Managers should be to start small but with genuine intent on focusing on meeting human needs. The idea is to avoid putting all your eggs in one basket and be willing to explore multiple options.

It has always been traditionally perceived that Product Management is supposed to be an analytical role. Product Managers were expected to rely on statistics and numbers to decide on the product they are creating. Product Managers love ‘big’ ideas but they always have been obsessed with analysis. That is the reason why they get trapped in ‘growth gridlock’. If the time to market is to be shortened and the process has to become lean, then just analytical thinking will never work. In this age of SaaS products where time to market is paramount, it’s not just numbers that you can rely on; there is need for empathy-based thinking as well. This is also known as human-centric or design thinking approach. This is true for both enhancing an existing product and creating entirely a new solution/product for customers.

Historically, designers have always focused on improving the look/feel and functionality of products but it was not enough and we know that it’s much more than that. Simply put, it’s non-linear and allows interactive and iterative understanding of a problem or a solution that is both analytical and experiential. The germ of design thinking starts with discovery of the customer’s problem. Since design thinking is option focused, the next step is about researching and understanding of the actual people or users involved. The next step is to ideate on how clearly we understand the problem itself and what are the options to solve it. Once the options are in place, we start experimenting with them and quickly discard any option that doesn’t work or ‘wows’. This takes us to synthesis. We should understand that when creating a product from scratch or adding new features, the option that we choose from experimentation has to be given time to grow, adapt and evolve before it becomes usable. It is an iterative process based on feedback and reflection, as the underlying concept of design thinking is that of being human-centric. Finally the solution needs to evolve and not be stagnant. Otherwise it runs the risk of becoming obsolete.

Competitive advantage doesn’t come overnight as it is a continuous process of adhering to principles ranging from mindset to process which can be aligned and applied to solve complex problems of customers. Competitive advantage through innovation most often occurs within a set of constraints, such as viability, profitability and desirability and that a traditional business-minded rational/analytic approach should be complemented with design thinking.