What is innovation?

We often think that innovation is inventing new things. It is not.

Innovation is providing more value.

If you want to create an innovative product, first analyse the current user experience. What is the most painful part of the process? Which parts could be improved? By knowing this, you can start figuring out how to provide a better experience. Innovation is the distance from the existing experience, to the experience you aspire to provide. Ideally, you should be able to make all aspects of the experience delightful.

To learn what is a delightful experience, it is useful to learn about the Kano model. The Kano model shows us the difference between delightful features and expected features. Delightful features are a good surprise to the user, and make them happy about your product. These are the features that will get them talking about your product to friends and family. The other thing that can have that effect is not meeting their expected features. You cannot over deliver on expected features. If you're missing an expected feature, all your delightful features will be worthless.

It's important to notice that delightful features will, eventually, be copied by competitors. They'll then become expected features.

The solution to this is not to add more and more features - that will kill your product. Instead, build your road map around problems you want to solve to your users. This prevents you from getting locked in solution mode. You planned to look into a certain part of the experience at some point. Yet, you're still free to explore the problem and potential solution when you get to it. That will for sure lead to more relevant and timely results.