“Before we wrote a single line of code or sketched our first product idea, we watched our buyers and users and saw their problems. We understood their frustrations – and saw what cost them time, money and misunderstandings. We understood how they worked and what they would and would not do with technology.”
That’s what Mallorie Brodie and Lauren Lake told the Financial Post, when asked how 2 young women from Kitchener ON succeeded with innovation in a traditional hard-head/hard-hat industry – and reengineered the contractor/subcontractor relationship in traditional construction companies.
Their advice sounds simple – know your buyers and users. Think inside their box, with hard hats and hard heads, to walk in their shoes and see how they work. “By the time we built Bridgit,we knew who was going to use it, pay for it and benefit from it. We got traction out of the gate,” they said, without having to iterate to get buy-in from some group that wasn’t aligned with what they were doing.
Start-up entrepreneurs like Brodie and Lake have agility on their side – to start with a clean sheet of paper. But they also don’t have the multiple touchpoints and deep industry knowledge that corporations have, hidden away in the depths of the matrix organizations that can be mobilized to churn out innovations.
With a generative Level 5, rather than a defensive Level 1, mindset – you can take charge and ask the right questions, if you’re inside a corporation, so other departments’ risk-assessments, financial disciplines and “what if” challenges can help you understand the needs of payers, users, regulators and other stakeholders – all of whom have to be aligned, for your innovation to get traction like Bridgit. If you orchestrate it right, it can speed you up rather than slow you down or stop you altogether.