When developing new products, there are many hurdles to overcome and many aspects to consider. Successful innovators know that good focus can never be underestimated. No-one is able to solve every problem, nor can you please everyone all the time.
You have to choose those aspects that are important for your target group and solve them in the best possible way. This will result in a successful offering that will make you stand out from the crowd. Focus not only brings clarity on priorities, it strengthens your message and positions you as the go-to brand for that market.
Choosing what not to do can be like a superpower. In the words of Martial Arts legend Bruce Lee: “I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times”.
Let’s use cars as a metaphor. Different brands please different customers. Dacia seduces budget conscious buyers, Rolls-Royce caters to the drivers looking for impeccable quality and comfort, the Nissan Leaf excites eco-sensitive buyers and Ferrari devotes itself to bold performance. A car manufacturer wishing to develop a comfortable and rugged electric race car for large families on a budget is in for a hard landing.
You can combine some desired qualities, but they will always affect one another. Race cars are not known as comfortable city cars to take on a shopping spree. Gas-guzzling supersized all-road vehicles get dirty looks from environmentally conscious consumers. But they both have a devoted host of fans. Likewise, a supercar fanatic might frown upon a Dacia, but the brand is consistently in the top 5 of Europe’s best-sold cars list.
Innovation is about creating value, offering a better solution than what is available. But how do you do that? Where do you find the golden opportunity?
Focus comes with a clear value proposition. Your solution needs clarity on what you try to solve. A good start is to measure your innovation on the basis of 4 factors: functionality, reliability, convenience and cost. This gives you 4 perspectives for innovation:
- Functionality. What is the function of the your product? How can it perform better?
- Reliability. Can users can be confident about your product?
- Convenience. Can you make your product more convenient and easier to use?
- Cost. How can you reduce the (operating) cost of your solution.
Once you found clarity on these core values, focus on developing your product or service to optimally achieve these values. Do not let yourself be carried away by what you see around you. Other solutions will have other values. Trying to incorporate all the bells and whistles that look appealing costs valuable time and makes your offering unclear for your customers.
Focus on one thing and do it better than anyone else.