Matt Gemmel discuss design copies & innovation in his latest aricle but find the following passages food for thought:

When designing something, ideas aren’t the problem. Indeed, even crazy, blue-sky ideas are often in plentiful supply. What kills you is reality - the actual implementation.

Your beautiful hand-waving idea is suddenly crushed by consequences, constraints and the hangman’s noose of its own gross oversimplification of the problem. That’s why a Photoshop mockup is no substitute for even a pencil-and-paper multi-screen prototype, and it’s also why fanciful “where technology will be in ten years” videos are usually little more than a stored-up source of future amusement.

When an idea is first formed, it lies in your "womb" that is your imagination. Safe from anything that might inhibit or kill it, your baby is free to be and do anything. These abilities might be good for a company's vision but not so much when it comes to actually creating something.

As the daydreamer, you enter your own world and drop inconveniences like gravity & friction to help your imaginary creation. However, that's your world. While envisioning has its uses, you need to know when to switch modes. Unfortunately, this awful design world is made up exclusively of compromises.

Reminds Steve when came up with a few shopping cart ideas/features to improve a website for SEO. In Steve's head, everything was perfect.

"This thing will have this, this, and, oooh, some of that"

All without seriously taking into account roadblocks that forces you to mutate your original idea and ensure its survival. Perhaps:

  • implementing your idea isn't scalable.
  • your budget allows only a part of your idea to be built.
  • your team discovers new information about your customers that goes against your initial plans.
  • the skills needed to build certain elements are out of reach.
  • business goals goes smack against your baby.

When a product you create in your head appears simple, it's an easy trap to fall into the "make it so" mindset and expect its creation to be a breeze.

Needless to say, Steve had a rude awakening to reality and experienced the need to be flexible and not be so stubborn with your own baby.

But back to Matt who brings up the following:

The issue is that real design jobs aren’t about creating something absolutely new - instead, they’re about innovation. The etymology of the word ‘innovation’ means something like “renewing”, or changing an existing thing by adding something new or doing something differently. Not a clean-cut, start-from-scratch scenario - that’s not what innovation is, and that’s why it’s hard.

Honestly, Steve lacks the experience to judge that line of thinking one way or the other but finds interesting nonetheless.

product development

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