Shhhh! Listen closely to your organization If you work for a technology company. Are the product people talking about features and vision that are just playing catch up to market leaders? Does everything sound like a “me too” functionality in your product roadmap?
Today, the technology market changes so quickly everyone is at risk if you aren’t agile and innovative. The fact is that if you are not thinking about a vision that leapfrogs your competitors right now, you will be playing catch up aimlessly without any control over your future. Furthermore, unless you are a global company that has a ton of brand equity at the enterprise level, you can lose your market share overnight. That’s the world we live in today.
Yet, there will be internal politics that will fight against a leapfrog vision. After all, the argument goes, there are existing customers who need to be serviced. While I strongly advocate listening to customers, one must always keep in mind that customers do not know what they don’t know. One of my favorite quotes is about Henry Ford explaining that if he had asked his customers what they wanted, they would have said faster horses. Customers often talk about features because they don’t know what they don’t know. Leapfrog vision is understanding that customers do not know what they don’t know and taking the risk to think beyond today’s reality. It’s about an innovation process. This undoubtedly will scare people protecting their roles and who are naturally resistant to change. That is why a technology company needs a culture of agility and innovation in its DNA.
The rate of change is only going to speed up in today’s world. Listen to your organization carefully because the underlying discussions have to be continuously about a leapfrog vision and not about “me too” features.