Mike Parsons
innovation. storytelling. lifehacking. music

Blog

The Innovators Mantra: Shoot for the Moon

 

If you want to innovate like Elon Musk and create breakthrough products you need to have the courage to shoot for something big. A moonshot. Something that’s ten times better than anything today.

Elon is shooting for the moon with SpaceX. But he’s already done it with Paypal and Tesla. Despite a hundred year headstart, the 200,000 employees of Ford can’t keep up with Elon. Tesla, 59B market cap, recently surpassed Ford, 48B, in market capitalization.
 
So, you’re ready to design radical solutions to big problems in the world? Maybe, throw in some emerging technology to get some exponential results? Well, here’s four questions which are part of the Moonshots Checklist (download). A handy tool for busy entrepreneurs who want to review and reflect on the journey.

Endowment Effect

Is the product 10x?

Customers love status quo. Change, not so much. Companies tend to fall in love with their newest creation. See Segway, Betamax, Amazon Fire Phone, etc.

Make sure the product requires little behaviour change - time, money, and effort. On the other side create so much value, like Amazon, that customers love you and you can dominate your category - become a market of one. Make Peter Thiel happy!    

Innovation Spectrum

Have you achieved a sustained advantage in both customer experience and network effects?

Warren Buffet says a company should build a castle, a wall, and a moat. The test: can you raise your prices and customers stay?

The way you create this great product/market fit is innovation across customer experience, products and system-wide. Look at the Apple innovation spectrum: 

  1. Best stores - customer experience
  2. Best phones - product
  3. Best supply chain - systemic network effect
moon.jpg

Design Thinking

Is your product equally loveable, viable, and profitable?

Don’t think your job is done when customers love your product. You need to make sure you can deliver on the promise. 

Product viability means on time and budget. It also implies you have a team with the right skills to get the job done. The expertise to implement your product idea at scale.

Product profitability, with the lense of design thinking, is specifically about price. And a fair price implies the exchange of value. Customer pains and gains. Or value said differently, "profitable" problem-solving.

Prototyping with Customers

Do you conduct regular sprints with customer prototypes?

For most product creators it would seem sensible to create and test a new product with customers. But there’s more to prototyping than that. You should be in a constant test and learn mode with your customers. 24/7!

Beyond UX and SUS testing of your existing product. The best companies are all over customer feedback. Pick up the phone and take customer calls. Work the help desk like Jeff Bezos at Amazon. Read Customer emails every day like Tim Cook at Apple.

In the next post I'll deconstruct the "Profit" checklist. Here's the full Moonshots Checklist (download).