The challenges of innovation and experimentation
I’ve just finished listening to a great podcast from the guys at prehype. I found it whilst browsing Soundcloud, an app that I’m using more and more recently. I like it when apps that have been around for a while find their feet and grow at a later stage after surviving for a while, it makes me think that they were based on a real need. Anyway, I digress.
The podcast was an interview with Beth Comstock, CMO at GE on innovation. We like Beth, she seems to have a really good sense of how to improve things and what it takes to be truly innovative, but also an ability to communicate clearly.
It’s going to be a short post to encourage any readers to simply take the time and listen to the interview themselves. But there were a few gems of quotes from Beth that I thought worth pulling out, but you should find them yourselves to digest the context as well.
Listening to a CMO of a large organisation like GE talk about what it takes to be innovative with what seems like a real understanding of the challenges you can face is reassuring from a small business perspective of an organisation such as ourselves. We truly believe that the approach we want to take with clients and the development of our own products is one that is based on identified needs and experienced based. But it’s not always easy, it requires a true belief on behalf of ourselves that we genuinely are approaching the work in the right way, but also a trust and belief from our clients that what they’ll get at the end is a far better result than it might have been had they not put the extra energy into exploring the customer/user experience in such detail.
Beth also talks about failure. It’s a common subject amongst the start-up groundswell that’s dominating the tech industries, “fail fast, fail often” is a mantra that many live by. We’ve had several experiences since starting up that live up to this, but you’ve got to pick yourself up and get on with it, learning and changing as you go.
Finally, and in part this relates to both of the previous paragraphs subject matters, Beth talks about the importance of understanding and how it’s such an important part of getting it right. Getting a true understanding of problems, issues, failures, needs and overall the experience undeniably put you in a stronger position to act with positive results.
So if you’re interested in innovation and improving experiences then take the time to listen to what Beth’s got to say, but also explore, experiment, test, fail and fail fast in what you do. The end result will nearly always be better.
Some nice quotes from Beth in the podcast:
“you’re not really trying to sell to someone, you’re understanding a need”
“understanding innovation requires sitting with start-ups to see how they operate”
“we’re about big experiments, but there’s no guarantee that any of these are going to work, but hopefully enough good will come from them”
“tension is essential for creativity, we create tension between technical innovation and market innovation. Sometimes technology creates opportunities that you never thought possible, sometimes you take existing technology and create new benefits just from combinations and business models”
“this isn’t about financial success for GE, it’s about improving culture, speed and strategically developing the company”
“instead of getting executives to mentor start-ups, get the start-ups to mentor executives”
I’ve tried to take the quotes word for word, but in some cases there’s a little bit of interpretation that’s gone on. Listen to the podcast to get the full insight.