I am Product Manager, bitch.

There is no roadmap for innovation

There simply is no “innovation roadmap”. Roadmaps are delineated, logical and optimized paths leading from A to B, on a map (Oh, and someone has already explored this territory to be able to draw a map out of it).

Innovation is discovering a new unmapped territory and it’s a messy journey into the fog. It’s a mix of intuition, observations, tests, data collection & hazardous interpretations, insights and epiphanies, more tests, epic fails, learning, chance, going backwards, finding momentum — or not, and discouragement hopefully beaten by dedication. Messy is not a bad thing when you hope to produce something unexpected, surprising and unprecedented.

But there might be checkpoints… #

Now checkpoints. Think of them as ingredients you can deliberately put in your innovation quest, however messy it is. Checkpoints act as intentions you can choose to commit to : generosity, humor, empathy, care for details, simplicity or impudence, to name just a few. These drive you to create something new and they are far more interesting — to me — than optimizing a path.

Innovation is both serendipity and hard work, but surely nothing you can compare to a roadmap. Remember: the map does not exist yet and anyway, you WANT to get off track.