I was recently reading an article about Inventor James Dyson. The article focuses on his story of reinventing a common household appliance, the vacuum. It shares his story and what it took to create a new product and to finally find people to believe in it. His invention has been a success and he has been involved in a number of other products as well.
In the article, Dyson shares some thoughts for people who are trying to bring a new idea to the marketplace.
As I read his thoughts, I thought that these would be valuable for anyone in leadership. These don’t just apply to products, but they also apply to ideas. As leaders, we need to be continually thinking about change, new ideas, evaluation, goals and methods.
Look at this list. This comes from Dyson’s book, “Against the Odds: An Autobiography”:
#1) Find inspiration outside your office
Great ideas don’t come from staring at a drawing board. Get out and look at things. When an idea comes, write it down and play with it until it works. Don’t sit and expect ideas to come.
#2) Think about the things you use every day
Although it is harder to improve a mature product, it’s worth a try.
#3) Don’t let “market research” get you down
Test and retest your product and believe only the evidence of your own eyes, not the formulas or other people’s opinions. You may have to fly in the face of public opinion.
#4) Keep making improvements
Constantly rethink and upgrade every aspect and function of your product, never being satisfied until you have solved every problem. The only way to keep possession of your invention is to keep strengthening it.
#5) Muster all your stamina and conviction
Developing and selling a product will take longer than you ever imagined.
#6) Do it yourself
It’s OK to be a control freak when it comes to your product. From your first idea, through research and development, testing, production, sales and marketing, and finally into the homes of consumers, your product “is most likely to succeed if the original visionary sees it through.”.
Now, think about “Your Product”. What are you trying to get to potential consumers?
For those of us in non-profit leadership, our product is most likely a service or a message of hope. We need to work to get our product into the hands of as many people as possible, and as Dyson says, sometimes this will take more work than we ever dreamed possible.
But, it’s worth it all. We’ve got a product that people are desperate for. Keep working on more effective ways to deliver.