An interesting thought about innovative business ideas is that, generally speaking, they are of little value in themselves and therefore not worth protecting. Not surprisingly, this (controversial) contemplation has sparked strong disagreement among professionals. Yet this disagreement in stems, in Carol Roth’s opinion, from a misunderstanding of what an idea really is — or at least what the author deems it to be.
We all know that really good designers somehow think differently from you and me about new products. But just exactly what does this difference consist of? Most insight, because it relies so heavily on asking consumers, only deals with improvements to known and existing products and services. It rarely deals with the new/never been done before. Good designers understand how to intelligently move beyond what you get from simply asking consumers what they need and want.
Most companies view surprises as things to be avoided. Even positive surprises are considered fortunate anomalies, far from being the cornerstone of any real strategy. The underlying assumption is that predictability and control are good, and uncertainty is bad. No wonder every management book on Amazon with the word “surprise” in its title is about how to prevent the phenomenon. But here’s the counterintuitive catch: If you want a breakthrough, something that really changes the game, surprise is actually the name of the game.