Whenever developing a new idea or product concept, one of the first things most people do is reach for a pen and look for something to write on. No matter how technical the idea is, it seems like starting with a writing instrument is the best form of expression for all us humans.
Concept and strategy come in many different formats: thoughts, ideas, group discovery and even real world pain points. An interesting paradigm shift is beginning to emerge and we believe will soon be paramount in all discovery sessions; tap and touch. The introduction of the iPhone and iPad touch technologies is nothing too new. For years we have used ATM’s and in-car navigation systems successfully with just our fingertips. Even pen based PDA’s and tablet PC’s have entered our environments striving to achieve that “always with you” device status ready to capture ideas, thoughts and back of the napkin drawings. But in reality most product ideas and buisness models still begin with paper (napkin or menu) and pen.
One thing we have noticed over the past decade of providing product leadership and strategy to numerous new media organizations, is a very simple starting point that can be captured with a pen or touch: What’s wrong or missing? Who thinks so? This simple, yet often overlooked initial step is key to starting any new product design or enhancing a product road-map.
In our opinion, there are 3 questions that should be answered when kicking off any product concept:
1) I wish this app or web service could:________
2) According to research, ____ other users wish it could do that or something similiar as well.
3) If it did do that, there are at least ____ other partners that may be interested and could benefit from the audience it would target.
See, 3 simple questions that can be answered with a pen, a stylus, a keyboard, or a tap and touch; the choice is yours. We suspect the pen and paper are most comfortable very familiar ultimately making them most popular because they are readily available almost everywhere. Until we can pick up an iPad, being used as a to-go menu at your favorite restaurant, and jot down an idea the most important thing to remember is no matter what your “weapon of choice”, make your product team happy by presenting your next great product idea to them with these 3 questions answered.