The tech industry is all about finding that Next Big Thing, the idea that launches a new company or industry and changes the world.
Most people look at successful innovators, like Steve Jobs or Jeff Bezos, and think they were born with something extra special. It’s true, they were. But everyone has it in them to be creative. Jobs said the true secret to success is to realise that “Everything around you that you call ‘life’ was made up by people who were no smarter than you.”
As we’ve previously written, innovation is a skill that you can develop.
But there’s another secret in there. Once you’ve come up with the great, bold idea, how do you bring it to life?
Innovative people tend to use some cutting-edge tech tools to do that, says Barry Jaruzelsk, a senior partner with Booz & Company. He studied that topic as part of a massive Global Innovation 1000 study. Jaruzelsk surveyed 400 executives at companies like Apple, Samsung, Google, Amazon, Tesla and found that the best of them used tools like these:
1. 3D printing. 3-D printing allows teams to create quick prototypes, make changes and print another prototype, in as little as an hour.
2. Customer immersion labs. Some teams build detailed virtual worlds complete with a virtual mock up of the new product. They use that for customer feedback, almost like a video game experience. For instance, a tractor maker creates a virtual 3D mockup to get customer feedback before it builds a prototype.
3. Usage sensors. When it comes to software, it’s easy for a developer to track what features a customer uses. All they have to do is track what users click on. These days, that same sort of instant feedback can be applied to any kind of product, thanks to low-powered sensors. Wire up the product and then record how a customer uses it.