[Quote] People want a mop in the cupboard

Even fantastically innovative output won't get you anywhere if your stakeholders and downstream teams reject it.

[Quote] People want a mop in the cupboard

"[P]eople want
a mop in the cupboard,

not a rocket launcher."

– Naomi Novik. American author

The point for innovation

Shockingly, Innovation Teams want to be innovative. (Who would've thought!) But it gets them in trouble.

We build empathy with users, learn the wide range of problems that they face, and try to solve at least some of those issues. It doesn't seem right just to make what we'd consider incremental progress, relative to all the pains that users have. Plus, why build something boring if you could create something awesome instead!

But our stakeholders and the downstream teams who have to operate whatever we create don't start with that experience. They start with their current day job, and the more the things we propose differ from their current job, the more alien our ideas become to them, and the more of a mismatch we may create with their capabilities and incentives.

If we just create for ourselves without considering the needs of those "ordinary" people, then our "rocket launchers" can be unusable by those who just want a better "mop in the closet." And they don't have to adopt what you create. So if it comes down to you vs. them, you lose!

Of course, that doesn't mean you should make crappy things, just so they can get stakeholder approval. Just don't swing the pendulum the other way and create things that are set up to be rejected.

Bottom line: Create "Usable Output!"


A Deadly Education

by Naomi Novik

Del Rey (2020)

Find on author's webpage

Further reading

Novik, N. (2020). A Dealy Education: A Novel (Lesson One of The Scholomance). Del Rey. https://www.naominovik.com/a-deadly-education/