How to promote innovation through Product Design
We all are born with a certain skillset. In my case, i could say i’m some sort of disruptor. Not that I’ve ever identified myself as that kind of person, but the truth is that I truly enjoy to provoke change inside the environments I work.
Whenever I strongly believe something could be improved, I tend to fight for that change to happen.
Truth be told, until very recently I was never quite sure on what was my role in the Design world, but if you start by reading my previous article where I explain how I went from Graphic to Product Designer, you will notice that breakpoints are the common grounds that placed me where I am today.
Breakpoints are the 101 of good Product Design
From my perspective, a breakpoint is when you stop doing what you are supposed to be doing, find out what’s wrong, analyse it, and find an alternative solution, that can either be disruptive or simply a different way to collaborate with the same people you were already collaborating before, but that for some reason, wasn’t really bringing results.
At the same time, as you probably know, this is what Product Design is all about. Find the problem, research and present solutions.
What my experience has been showing me is that when you actually care enough to do something about an idea or theory you believe it could be better done, you can drive change and innovation. So here goes my 6 Steps to Provoking Change:
1st Step: care about what you do
If you want to do something better, you first need to know what you are doing, why it’s beeing done that way, what made it come to a point where change is needed and what can you do by yourself before you can have backup from your colleagues.
2nd Step: look outside your window
After you are well aware of the challenge itself, it’s time to open the windows and check out what the world is doing, how and what are the common approaches to your problem and what could be a good fit for your particular case. Usually you won’t be the first to have any idea, so look for what others have already discovered and use that in you advantage.
3rd Step: Influence others
It’s time to plant your seed. You will need to talk to a lot of people, discover allies and blockers and bring what you’ve found out to the table. You don’t really need to show what others do (unless you, like me, don’t always feel comfortable to defend your ideas without backup), but you need to talk to people… a lot… you need to find out what others think and why they think that way. And then you need to start bringing your cards into the table, 1 by 1.
You should talk about outputs, bring the users to the game and put the experience first. The experience, nowadays, is what sets a product apart from another. If you don’t provide differentiation to the users, your product is already gone (unless your product has millions in investment, which will give you more time to work on this).
4th Step: Be the actionable agent for change
By now, people become more attentive to the topics you have been bringing up, so it’s time to start doing something about it. Prepare one (or multiple) presentations about your topic.
Go to your manager, your colleagues, even go to your company leaders if the project is big enough (A good CEO, CTO, CPO or CDO always cares about real improvements) or anyone else who could be a valuable asset in pursuing the change you’re after. Share online articles, research and your personal findings regularly. Make yourself heard and hard to ignore. Evangelize everyone in your way. Shout out why you believe what you believe.
If by now no one cares, maybe there’s something wrong with your idea. You need to revisit it. Otherwise, you are gonna start noticing people coming to you, asking questions and wanting to help.
5th Step: Trust and Collaboration FTW
Change is on its way, but most of the times, having people sharing your beliefs is not enough. You need to involve other people in your research, brainstorming and helping you spread the word.
You need to collaborate with people with different ideas and find some common ground. And you also need to trust those people to spread your ideas. They might not think exactly like you, and they may even not fully understand your idea, but with collaboration things will become clear very quickly. And trust me on this, you won’t make it alone. So relate closely with others, they will be your voice.
6th Step: Never stop believing
Weather we’re talking about a new feature, workflow, process, tool or even a big project like a Design System or User Research, it all comes down to the same.
You need to have something solid in your mind. You need to know exactly WHY you want to change something, what’s behind your motivations. This is something I learned from Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle.
People don’t buy what you do they buy why you do it. — Simon Sinek
So, if you strongly believe in your ideas, remember to spread why they’re worth it. That will be valued at some point. And don’t forget the people in the process. Without people to share your beliefs, collaborate with you and help along the way success is always an extra step ahead!
What about you, are you after some sort of change in you life, do you have a different idea or want to convince others to do something in particular?