If there’s one thing ‘digital’ these lockdown weeks have highlighted to everyone - it is the ability to move ideas into production quickly. We’ve seen an explosion of lean startups across enterprises, government and healthcare. As Sayna Nadella put it “We’ve seen two years’ worth of digital transformation in two months.’Often innovation is seen as a risk by business: Investment in it is costly. What if it cannibalises our cash cows? It can’t work in our environment. Innovation tends to get bolted on as a special ‘lab’ or function placed somewhere in marketing or a customer-facing business silo. But the main business stays wedded to the comfort of established norms in financing and reporting, in project sign-off and procurement processes, and in technology and service delivery.
Perhaps the pandemic response finally gives us the impetus to do things differently. The problem with the old approach is that once the cost-cutting is done, the efficiencies made, the reorganisations and stripping out of layers have nothing left to give. The work of management consultants, dancing to a tune insisted upon by the financiers, can’t deliver the cash cows of the future.
What if innovation avoids costs? What if it helps strip out inefficiencies and makes us better, more competitive, and faster to value?
Red Badger’s approach to Product Strategy includes a process of rapid testing where we move from 100+ ideas to building and testing one or two - for real - every week. Literally: Monday - ideas, Tuesday - research, Wednesday - design, Thursday - build & test, Friday - analyse. These are live product tests with real customers signing up. It tests and validates the heat in a marketplace for an idea among its target audience, using data and evidence.
The majority of ideas do not generate heat - that’s the point, you can kill them quickly, potentially saving £millions in development. Those that show potential are backed, quickly and carefully. They deliver value to customers immediately and rapidly build a new value stream for your business. You scale your investment to the returns generated, matching the model of the most successful, digitally native, businesses.
This is not innovation for innovation’s sake - rather it is a way to generate new value at lightning speed and guarantee returns. It minimises risk.
On the other side of lockdown we will need to recover quickly, to take advantage of new ways of working and consuming. This approach is the accelerant for recovery that has digital delivery at its heart.