Design Innovation Step 2: Creating New Levels of Performance

Where my blog post design innovation step 1 focused on improving existing products for greater efficiency or profitability, Design Innovation Step 2; Creating New Levels of Performance focuses on product evolution.

Evolution can be about adding new features, refining an existing product that has outgrown its usefulness or it can be about applying what is learned to a new product in the product family. An example of product evolution is the mobile game developer Rovio. Based in Finland, Rovio are the creators of the globally successful Angry Birds franchise.

The company started in 2003 as a game development studio creating games for mobile devices. In 2009 they put Angry Birds in the market as a casual game to run on touch screen smart phones. It became a worldwide phenomenon and became the #1 paid mobile application in the world.

Described by game reviewer Bonnie Eisenman as “a wacky castle-destruction physics game where you fire birds through a slingshot in order to kill piggies. The art is funny, the difficulty curve is great, and the levels are clever.”

Much of the success of Angry Birds was the fact that they were already an accomplished mobile game developer with 51 published games before Angry Birds launched. After 7 years in business, like many companies who focused hard, they became masterful at what they did. They achieved a level of understanding of how to do business, how to operate, how to deliver and who to partner with.

If you are committing heart and soul to designing a new product or service, you need to be fully committed to the business beyond all logical reason. You need to be able to stand up for it in the face of rejection and negative feedback. If your soul yearns to invent the next great product, recognize that sometimes you don’t know you are doing it until the market tells you.

In the case of Angry Birds, try, try and try again, is what led to the design innovation that took the world by storm. Sometimes invention takes time, patience and lots of practice. The story of Rovio and Angry Birds is the story of our own evolution. By continuing to refine, polish and practice who we are and what we do, we evolve ourselves and our work, to new levels of performance.