When talking about Jobs To Be Done, Bob Moesta notes that there are two ways to innovate. Supply-side innovation is internally driven. Organizations know their capabilities, limitations, and business model and build from that position. This type of innovation is more efficient, has limited scope (and costs!), and uses the language of the organization.
Alternatively, demand-side innovation is externally driven. Jobs theory is demand side as is the Mom Test and IDEO’s invention through iteration. This type of innovation includes prototypes and feedback, lots of questions, and uses the language of the customers and consumers.
“Any sufficiently advanced technology,” Arthur C. Clarke wrote in 1962, “is indistinguishable from magic”.
That quote highlights this aspect. Technology users want it to feel like magic. Builders use advanced technologies.
Face ID is magic.
“What Apple did with Face ID was take a really hard computer science problem, and using a lot of complicated technology, create something with a simple name. I intuitively know what Face ID is just from the name. It’s also intuitive to use. I looked at it and was in. There’s an opportunity to do something like that (for crypto). Multiparty computation is not the right marketing term for what the average person might use.”
Brian Armstrong to Ben Horowitz.
Uber is magic.
“At first glance Uber might just look like a simple app—after all, the premise was always to hit a button and get a ride. But underneath its deceptively basic user interface was a complex, global operation required to sustain the business. The app sat on a vast worldwide network of smaller networks, each one representing cities and countries. Each of these networks had to be started, scaled, and defended against competitors, at all hours of the day.”
Andrew Chen, The Cold Start Problem.
The wrong lesson here is to think customers want magic. It’s situational! Shopping and buying are different.
There is no best way to innovate, only trade offs. But Clarke gives us a nice framing for technology.