Episode 165 | Tips from the Innovator’s Playbook | Nathan Baird

Innovation is hard.  But it’s critical to the success of your business.  So figuring what to innovate and how to do it is so important.  That’s why my guest this week, Nathan Baird, is so inspiring.  Nathan is an expert in design and is the author of a new book called Innovator’s Playbook: How to create great products, services and experiences.

Nathan has identified some common, avoidable traps organisations fall into when it comes to turning great ideas into viable products and services. He’s worked out a better way.  As he writes:

“Most innovations and startups fail because of a lack of focus on the front end of the innovation process where customer needs are researched, insights are distilled, solutions are ideated, prototyped and tested and business models are shaped. But innovation doesn’t have to be this way”

In this episode Nathan Baird shares his 20 years of hands-on experience.  And his tools and methods for developing a winning customer-centric approach to innovation.

Lessons Learned

Tips for innovators

  1. Choose a short hit list. be clear about your priority projects.
  2. Find a way to free up time to innovate.
  3. Create a physical or virtual space that’s dedicated to the innovation process.
  4. Always bring in customers. It’s got to be a constant conversation

First steps for innovators

If you want to innovate, ask yourself these questions.  Where do we want to place our bets? What are the trends telling us? What are the growth areas? Once you’ve done that, you really need to understand what the customer needs are. And that involves getting out and spending time with your customers. From there, we then want to distill those ideas.  And then we still want to take it back to the customer and test it with them and get feedback. The best way to understand your customers needs is to go and be the customer. Experience the experiences they do. You can also observe them and interview them. Customers will tell you certain things, but if you observe them you may discover things they weren’t even aware of.


“…we need to continually innovate to grow and develop, we also need to continually grow and develop how we innovate.”

“Innovation is the act of challenging the status quo to create new value that satisfies a human need.”

“Most innovations fail because of lack of work at the front end. Project initiation, exploratory research, customer need generation and ideation to concept development.  Everything that comes before development, commercialisation and launch.



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