Much like the chicken and the egg, innovation and design are reliant upon each other to drive the world forward. In the last decade, both have become the golden standard for most industries, as with both, entrepreneurs are pushed to envision and deliver more than what is expected — while taking on more creative measures and approaches.
The product design process can acts as a catalyst for innovation by providing focus, structure, and the momentum required to move an idea forward.
Startups looking to make it far must ensure their design process is not only smooth, but also geared for innovation — as it’s the driving force behind turning an idea into a marketable product, and therefore, an integral part of making innovation happen.
But, what exactly is an innovative design, and why is it important for startups?
What is Innovative Design?
Most people talk about the benefits this technologically-rich era has brought about — especially about the countless opportunities. But, no one mentions the big downside — there are most likely many other startups trying to produce the same products as you. Meaning, you have to truly stand out if you hope to catch end user’s attention — and that can be done by taking on board an innovative design approach.
The three key considerations behind innovative design are: aesthetics, functionality, and value.
Starting with aesthetics and functionality is a no-brainer — you must ensure that your product looks different from similar ones in the market, and you must ensure it is intuitive and seamlessly usable.
When it comes to providing value, that’s when innovation comes into play.
Ensuring you’re creating a product that positively contributes to the end user’s day-to-day is key to addressing the needs of the consumer and solving their problems.
How Can Innovation Through Design Be Implemented?
There are four main stages of creating an innovative product.
In this stage, designers discover what the customer need or pain point is and place themselves in the end-users shoes — to reframe their point-of-view to that of the consumer. Then, they can gain insights and patterns, that will help them along in the next stage. It’s important to avoid assumptions at all costs — as this may lead the design in the wrong direction.
This is a teamwork stage, where the design team unleash their creative side and share their ideas and design possibilities and feasible solutions.
3. Test and Refine.
This is the prototype stage. Prototypes are built for different solutions and tested on real users — to find out their reactions and feelings. With the information gathered, the prototype can be tweaked to create the final product.
Once the product has been refined, it is ready to be launched. Now, it just needs to be marketed appropriately — to the same audience you tested it on.
Creating killer innovations has many critical components — which once accounted for will help you build and create stronger and more successful solutions for your market.
Why Is Innovative Design So Important?
The pursuit to create a solution that brings value to the end-user lays at the heart of all great designers. Which is why, when it comes down to it, turning to your end-users to help you piece together their solution is the way forward.
Taking the time to truly understand your consumers; creating an idea based on the knowledge you’ve gathered; and using their insights to tweak your prototypes until they are so-called ‘perfect’ — these steps will make all the difference between an innovative product, and an unsuccessful one.
With benefits such as improved teamwork, clarity into the design process, and better preparation, an innovative design will provide your startup with a competitive advantage due to your ability to deliver a product with immense value.
Don’t forget: engaging with your consumers first will always help you decide whether or not you should pursue a particular innovation, and, additionally, determine exactly what you will need to make it happen — should you decide to go ahead with it.
The road to innovation is supported by three core pillars: aesthetics, functionality, and value.
The more effort you put into fully developing these three things, the more chances you have of creating a more innovative, and attention-grabbing product.
Providing value to the end users is on the hearts of all product designers.
Innovating a solution tailored to your ideal users — and one that will solve problems they face every day — is critical to the success of your product.