“Forget Innovating, Make It Effortless”


The other day I saw an excerpt from an innovation conference that read “forget delighting the customer, make things effortless”.  Oh, really?

The Goal of innovation

Innovation is using creativity to produce a delightful experience for which the customer will gladly pay.  There is no innovation without a delightful experience.  Don’t believe me? Just ask the inventor of Segway.

The goal of any business is and always will be delighting the customer. Full Stop.  This initial statement seems as if there’s a confusion or confounding of the goal with the strategy.

Strategies for innovation

One way to do that is by making things effortless. You can also make things more personalized.  You can also add more value (features). This is where the confounding comes in as the statement suggests that delighting the customer only happens when you make things feature laden.  Which isn’t always the case at all.

In his 2011 Forbes magazine article “Is Delighting The Customer Profitable?” Steve Denning said:

The trick in delighting customers is focus: aim for the simplest possible thing that will delight buyers. Don‘t load products down with features that most people won‘t use and that make the product hard to operate.

The Effortless Apple

Apple has done the best over the past decade of delighting the by making things effortless.  That was their strategy to delight the pants off their customers. In the words of the Gladiator standing in the arena, iPhone raised high in the air with his Apple watch on his wrist, “Are you not delighted?” By removing the keyboard and other buttons they’ve executed their effortless strategy perfectly and achieved their goal of customer delight. Don’t believe me, have you walked past an Apple Store lately?

"Are You Not Delighted?" - Steve Jobs

To sum it all up, that statement would be stated as: To delight the customer, one way is to focus on making things effortless.

One is the goal, the other is the strategy. Don’t confuse the two.