Innovators are always planting new product ideas. They start with a seed and try to grow it into a big, tall and beautiful tree. But often, instead of designing a strong trunk and branches first, they immediately start arranging the leaves.
Here’s a product development tip: build the trunk and branches first, then quickly let customers climb all over them.
The idea is to design and test the main parts of your product early-on and observe actual customer behavior, rather than just listening to what customers say or say they will do.
I’m a fan of high-velocity product testing. This means you get a prototype of the product or the experience into beta, get customer usage data on features or functionality, get information on customer experience pain-points, make adjustments, and then get the next version out fast.
Testing an actual product, with real users in their natural environment, is the foundation of developing something consumers will love. Because the real learning does not start in focus groups or through online surveys, but when you begin reviewing your first set of customer behavior data.
It’s amazing how many great ideas fall flat once they're in live testing, and how the unexpected things become winners.