The Creative Process (April 5, 2017)

04/05/2017 09:43 am ET

The creative process has many different expressions.

One form of creativity is the development of a product.

Many very successful products are twists or extensions on what had already existed (please reread yesterday's blog post).

But other products are truly new - like the smart phone, for example (thank you Steve Jobs!). 

Steve Jobs was well known for eschewing focus groups. He believed that there were times when people did not really know what they wanted until you gave it to them.

"It's really hard to design products by focus groups.  A lot of times, people don't know what they want until you show it to them."

Today I'm reading a book written by Ben Horowitz, a famous venture capitalist (Andreessen, Horowitz) who echoes Jobs' view and goes one step further - sometimes when developing a product you actually ignore what people may think they want.

"It turns out that is exactly what product strategy is all about - figuring out the right product is the innovator's job - not the customer's job.  The customer only knows what she thinks she wants based on her experience with the current product."

Ben Horowitz (HarperCollins, 2014)

The point is that there are times when an innovator (creator) has to put trust in her/his own vision - notwithstanding what the swell of opinion may be.  Perhaps we need to modify the adage "the customer is always right" to: "the customer is always right until a new product comes along and proves the customer wrong."

Jim Randel is the founder and author of The Skinny On book series, condensed explanations of important life skills.  Randel's books are currently best sellers in China - three of his e-books in the top 100 best-selling e-books in China.  One of Randel’s books is The Skinny on Creativity. 

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