Insights

Insights

Insights on innovation. We look at innovation wherever it comes from… startups, corporations and independent inventors. Our articles examine all angles of innovation, from concept to development to go-to-market, growth and scaling. We draw insights on how to apply learnings to your own organization and occasionally share things that Boom Factor has been working on as well. Hope you enjoy and hope to hear from you as well

Insights on innovation. We look at innovation wherever it comes from… startups, corporations and independent inventors. Our articles examine all angles of innovation, from concept to development to go-to-market, growth and scaling. We draw insights on how to apply learnings to your own organization and occasionally share things that Boom Factor has been working on as well. Hope you enjoy and hope to hear from you as well!

Innovation Weekly: Disruption, Paranoia & the Indispensable Need
Why Entrepreneurs Should Care Less About Disrupting and More About Creating This article is a brief review of Tim O’Reilly’s latest book entitled WTF? What’s the Future and Why It’s Up to Us. It features an excerpt of Chapter 16 of the book which discusses on why entrepreneurs should shift their focus from disrupting the status quo to creating new markets and possibilities. The excerpt explains 4 ways to achieve this: First, entrepreneurs should focus on what they value the most; no, it’s not the bottom line. Instead, Tim encourages its readers to have “big hairy audacious goals”. Secondly, entrepreneurs
Innovation Weekly: How it Works, Post-It Notes & Slow Adoption
Data From 3.5 Million Employees Shows How Innovation Really Works This article is based on a 5-year longitudinal study of 154 companies and over 3.5 million employees on their use of an idea management system called Spigit. The system was used for different purposes by different companies; some use it for process innovation, others for product development, and so forth. The key finding of the research is that the higher the ideation rate (number of approved ideas by management divided by number of active users of the systems) in a company, the higher the growth and net income. This is
Innovation Weekly: Necessity, Market Enablement and Agility
Necessity is indeed mother of invention—regardless of resources, study shows This article addresses a common misconception that people who live in extremely low resource environments are unable to create impactful innovation. The whole article is based on a case study research by the University of Notre Dame and Lulea University of Technology, which focuses on the concept and impact of “jugaad”—literally means “hack” in Hindi. Jugaad or “frugal innovation” is a concept prevalent in India where resources are scarce. The whole concept of jugaad relies on what the researcher called as “assertive defiance”, an unwillingness to be limited by the
Innovation Weekly
This is the beginning of a weekly series of Boom Factor’s top picks in conversations on innovation. Overcoming Innovation’s Roadblocks: Poor Prioritization by Nick Partridge This article is the first part in a multi-part series for LPK Lab’s Roadblocks to Innovation, a set of tool in the form of a deck of cards that helps teams anticipate the leading project pitfalls and overcome organizational barriers. The article provides four simple steps that will help readers power through indecision. The author also provides a downloadable matrix that will help the process of prioritization, ideation, and decision making. 10 Deadly Sins of
10 Deadly Sins of Corporate Innovation
According to one of the most highly regarded innovation experts, Clayton Christensen, about 60% of corporate innovations never see the light of day and another 40% of those that are launched into a market never see a positive return on investment (The Innovator’s Solution, page 73). That means that only one in four innovations released by established companies are successful. After having worked on over fifty innovation projects for various companies and organizations, I started to see a pattern of constraints impeding successful innovation no matter the size of the company, the industry, corporate organization, or talent pool. Time and time
Why We Changed Our Name to Boom Factor
We recently changed our name from Montparnas to Boom Factor. As with any name change, it wasn’t just about the name; it was about capturing a new vision for our company. Having seen numerous clients struggle with building viable, innovative products, we saw an opportunity to combine our experience building startups and leading innovation teams to help solve this problem. The problem is that established companies often spend too much time and money building products that either fail once in the market or simply fall short of being a breakthrough innovation. There are many factors driving this problem, and many
Biggest Mistake that Product Managers Make
Entrepreneurs can be considered the ultimate product managers, taking an idea from just a concept, and building out a product without the help of existing brand recognition and boundless resources. In many ways, product mangers within companies can learn a lot about how to develop a successful product by examining what successful entrepreneurs have done in building their own products/businesses. In practice, there are several things that overlap, such as, iterating the design, prioritizing features, measuring performance, etc.; however, a key missing element for product managers in established organizations versus entrepreneurial product mangers is actually talking to the customer.  
Customer Journey Mapping
Customer journey mapping is not just a technique for big-budget projects or companies, but a critical step in understanding your customers’ needs, desires and pain points. They allow you to stay focused on the consumer, and to identify the ways that you can better serve them. So what are customer journey maps anyway? A customer journey map is an illustration of a customer’s experience engaging with a company and its product or service. The map can tell the full story covering the entire customer lifecycle from initial contact to activation, engagement, and beyond or focus on only a part of the story that lays out interactions or touchpoints critical to part
Growth Hack Your Site in 3 Steps
Growth Hack Your Site in 3 Steps
Do you want to hack your site’s growth, but don’t know where to start? Well, this article is for you! Growth hacking can be very complex, but it doesn’t have to be. It doesn’t matter if your site is an app, a marketing site, or an ecommerce site. In this article, I will show you how to improve your registrations or any other conversion metric in three steps with leading tools in the growth hacking tool belt: Google Analytics, CrazyEgg, and Optimizely. Let’s get started! Step 1: Tracking your goals with Google Analytics The first thing that you need to
Surviving the Startup Roller Coaster
What Goes Up, Must Come Down: Keeping Sane on the Startup Rollercoaster
One of the most important things that I’ve learned in the three years that I’ve been working on our startup, AtmaGo, is that it really is a rollercoaster ride. I’ve heard this many times before from experienced entrepreneurs, but nothing can really prepare you for the reality. At the beginning, your startup’s trajectory will be chaotic. The key thing is understanding the ebbs and flows of your startup and making wise decisions in an ever-changing landscape rather than making bad, emotional decisions.   Euphoric Space Shot I’ll start with the less deleterious mistake that most new entrepreneurs make. You just
Yes, Big Corporations Can Innovate Too
I used to think, like many, that large corporations cannot innovate. I thought that they are too large, too boring, and too riddled with politics and institutional inefficiency to move quickly and to innovate. Having consulted for a slew of large clients over the past decade, I realized that while these generalizations are often true, there are ways that large firms CAN, in fact, innovate. In this article, I present common problems that stifle innovation within a large company as well as how to overcome those obstacles. What Is Innovation This seems like an rhetorical questions, but it is not
Flawless Product Design with a Large Team
A user experience that is designed by a group should be as seamless and coherent as though it was designed by an individual. When experiences are created by a team of designers inconsistencies are often introduced, making the end product awkward and, in some cases, introducing usability errors. In my own experience, I have found that there are three ingredients to ensuring effective design by a team. Designate a Design Lead It is tempting to think that a flat organizational structure in the design team will breed creativity and collaboration, and it may, in deed, do so. However, I have
Avoiding Agile Disaster
Agile development can be a wonderful thing. Unlike a waterfall approach that can be mired with checkpoints, bottlenecks, and other friction, Agile can free organizations to move quickly. However, with that freedom come deleterious consequences. Chief among them is the loss of  product identity, which leads to an unrecognizable agglomeration of disjointed features—A blob of garbled parts. A Blob of Garbled Parts One of the first questions I ask usability study participants is, “What do you think this thing does?” All too often, the answer is simply “I have no idea.” In other cases participants grasp at random guesses. In the case of Agile
People Prefer Choice over Better User Experience
Recent research suggests that if consumers perceive that their freedom of choice is limited, they will often switch to a new product from one with which they are already familiar,  (“Why Dominant Companies Are Vulnerable“,  MIT Sloan Management Review,Winter 2012). The researchers, Kyle B. Murray and Gerald Häubl, explain that this phenomenon might be one important reason why market leaders such as Microsoft lose dominant market share over time. For example, consumers might opt to switch to the Firefox web browser and endure the cost of learning a new software simply to exercise their freedom of choice. Not only that,
The Future of Interaction
In his article A Brief Rant on the Future of Interaction, Bret Victor counters the status quo and a recent video from Microsoft projecting the future of interaction. Victor argues that, while the future does encapsulate using our hands, the future is tactile and not touching glass or ‘Pictures Under Glass.’ He summarizes his argument as: In this rant, I’m not going to talk about human needs. Everyone talks about that; it’s the single most popular conversation topic in history. And I’m not going to talk about about technology. That’s the easy part, in a sense, because we control it.
UX Design and Business
A few months ago, I received an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management. As a UX designer, it seemed a strange choice to many I spoke to about the decision, but I’ve been a long-believer in the convergence of design and business. Furthermore, the need for collaboration between all the roles in the product development cycle has been a recurring theme both on this blog and in the wider community. Collaboration is greatly improved with mutual understanding, and thus the MBA serves as a great linkage between an engineering and design background to the business disciplines, including product
Market Research and the Primitive Urges of the Consumer
“The trouble with market research is that people don’t think how they feel, they don’t say what they think and they don’t do what they say.” The BBC reports on an upcoming breakthrough for market research, currently being developed. Dr Roberto Valenti of the University of Amsterdam and Dr Theo Gevers. The two have established a company, ThirdSight, to take advantage of computerized emotion recognition (decoding emotions from facial expressions). ThirdSight has successfully run its software on a smartphone, but the team acknowledges that results are not yet perfect, requiring a researcher to oversee the software, because it cannot decode
Design Research & Innovation: An Interview with Don Norman
Great words of insight (as usual) from Don Norman in an interview with Jeroen van Geel on Johnny Holland Magazine. He talks about the gaps between academic research, design studies, and design as well as topics on innovation, emotional design and design thinking. In regards to design thinking, he refers to a previous article that he wrote (which I re-read recently and highly recommend): Design Thinking a Useful Myth. Highlight quotes from the interview and link below: On the difference between researchers and practitioners: One wants deep understanding, the other wants to know what to do next. One is happy
Baidu Focuses on Usability Not Proliferating Features
A recent Financial Times article, “Functionality remains Baidu’s priority” (free registration required), juxtaposes Baidu’s product development philosophy with that of its chief rival, Google. The piece states that Baidu focuses on making functionality that allows the average user to get things done, while Google’s approach is pushing out a ton of “cool” features and hoping that some of them will stick. I don’t know that I quite agree with the author or Ms. Mengqiu’s assessment of Google’s product strategy, but I certainly applaud Baidu’s commitment to making features better rather than making more features. From the article: Wang Mengqiu, senior director of technology and
Content Strategy and UX Design
In “Fusing Content Strategy with Design”, David Gillis gives a very good summary of content strategy and its interplay with the overall user experience strategy and information architecture. The leading advocate for the field, Kristina Halvorson defines the field as such: Content strategy plans for the creation, publication, and governance of useful, usable content. Necessarily, the content strategist must work to define not only which content will be published, but why we’re publishing it in the first place. I particularly like the way he discusses the importance of setting contexts, using context maps, to better integrate content with the overall