I really like this overview of the creation of the Pulse iPad app. Written by Lisa Katayama of Fast Company, it succinctly captures the big things you have to do to bring something remarkable to market. I especially appreciate the second of the five ways noted in the article:
Define: Are you focused and open to what your team
needs in order to thrive? Define your personal point of view in pursuing
your venture, and then think about what your end user, your team, and
your business need. Even if your end goal is to reach all 6.7 billion
inhabitants of the earth with your product or service, key in on a niche
user to start and identify what works best for him. By observing and
empathizing with the tech geek, for example, Kothari and Gupta were able
to define his need: a better way to catch up with older news and other
treasures that might get buried in linear feeds like Google Reader or
Over the past year, I've outlined 18 of the 21 principles of innovation I've been hacking on. The nineteenth principle happens to be "Have a point of view", and I think the expression of this principle above is just wonderful. Knowing what you stand for, and what you don't, and what is important, and what is not, is fundamental. Without that knowledge, I believe it is impossible to manage the tensions that come with bringing something new to life. Having a point of view not only helps you make decisions, it helps increase the odds that you'll make good decisions — at least decisions that will feel good to the people you're designing for. I suppose I should get my act together and write up those last three innovation principles…
I also dig this article because of what it says about the Stanford d.school. First, I have to give a tip of my hat to my friends and colleagues Michael Dearing and Perry Klebahn, who created and taught the Launch Pad class wherein Pulse was created and launched. They're incredible guys, and I consider myself very lucky to get to learn from them on a routine basis. Second, when George Kembel and I wrote up the "napkin manifesto" for the d.school back in 2004, we had a vision of using "… design thinking to inspire multidisciplinary teams". We thought it would be cool if the next pair of Hewlett and Packard, Filo and Yang, or Sergey and Larry found each other via the d.school. Now, I'm not saying the Pulse is the new Yahoo, but it's very satisfying to see people at the d.school meeting each other, learning with each other, and working together to bring things to life which make a real impact out in the world.
Now that's way cool.