Innovation guidelines: 12 tips on changing the game

Joseph Waring
25 Sep 2013

Nichaloas Wodtke, VP of content and services at Samsung, shares his insight from 15 years in the business for innovating in the digital world.

1. Be razor focused

"Everything else is noise. The companies that succeed are the companies that only focus on their product - not talk about budget meetings."

2. Fewer meetings

"Just cut the meetings in half. It's going to be a reward to everyone. Everyone's going to be like; ‘Oh my God, I've got more space, I've got more dream time' - time to think, time to really process. Give your teams freedom to really advance and create."

3. Fewer emails

"Force people to do less emailing. I've done that in my teams, and I tell you productivity rises. You get in the morning and you've got 20 emails, and they're really well thought out. And the rest you do verbally."

4. Fewer features

"The people developing products always insist that adding more is better. That is a recipe for disaster. That's called feature creep. It is completely dehumanizing software."

He says humans are single-taskers. "We actually do really well when we focus on one task. And we want our software to be the same way."

5. Quickly iterate and learn fast

"Try to get your cycles down to three to six months."

6. Validate the learning

Wodtke recommends defining in advance how to determine success before you collect the data. Otherwise you have the flexibility to interpret data the way you want - basically reinforcing what you want to believe.

He argues this is dangerous and it's not going to help in the long run. "You will fail, but it will take a longer time to fail. You'll convince your boss, you'll be more distracted, you'll have more emails, you'll have more meetings about why it's successful. But you won't capture the core problem."

7. Pivot quickly

He says he doesn't think he's ever started a company or built a product that turned out the way he wanted it. "It never does. You start off on a journey, you take one step, you see something, you move over here. And if you pivot, you will eventually solve the problem."

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