Friday, March 28, 2008

Innovation for the Sake of Innovation

I recently stumbled upon a blog post at that discusses how innovation can go overboard. I'm all for innovation. It's what makes living in this day and age exciting. However, too much innovation does little to improve our lives and leaves us frustrated and confused.

When we innovate products, especially software and web applications, we should be asking ourselves a number of questions.

  • Will the change or introduction of a new feature or function solve a specific problem for the end-users, address a specific need or help them overcome a challenge?
  • Is the introduction of the new feature of function in response to a need or is it for the sake of innovation? In other words, are you trying to "keep up with the Jones'?"
  • Are the increased production and development costs that come along with introducing the new feature or function going to pay off in the short-term or long-term?
These are just a few questions that come to mind, but I'm sure there are many more. Overall, the question that should be asked; is the innovation needed? If not, leave it be. As the blog post so eloquently states, if you start playing a game of one-upsman-ship, your competitor will inevitably go back to tried and true methods of simplicity and use that as the primary value proposition of the product. Focus on what made the product successful and the value it creates for the end-user. In the end, that's all they really care about.

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