Here’s to the crazy ones

Making a difference by design…

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The trouble-makers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status-quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify, or vilify them. But the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.” © 1997 Apple Computer, Inc.

I love this ad. Such a great campaign. Inspiring.
How cool would it be to work with those people? Those crazy ones? The rebels?

And can you imagine trying to manage them?  

Product development seems hard enough to manage as it is. But it’s all about asking the right questions and setting the right conditions. Stimulating the right actions.

As a manager, don’t ask for the product details early. Don’t ask for samples a week into the project. It just drives the team to jump to solutions and take short cuts. Which lead to costly loopbacks later on when you really can’t afford to have any delays or risk damage to the brand.

At the moment, you’re asking for:

  • project management software – it’s not the software. That’s just a Band-Aid on a broken arm.
  • samples (concept designs) – too early. Asking for samples early drives the team to jump to solutions rather than investigate. It encourages short-cuts that likely create costly loopbacks later, slowing the project down rather than up. Learn more about loopbacks here.
  • details – but the wrong ones at the wrong time.
  • a manual, process, template – but a tool that someone ‘forces’ onto the team won’t work.
  • someone from Apple – that person won’t make any difference without a change to the set up in your organisation.

You’re asking the wrong things.
And you’re making it really hard for yourself and for the team.

What you’re lacking is overview and the insights (questions) to manage (control) product development.

The complication is that the PD teams work effects all the other teams in the business. Product development is the most cross-functional activity most organizations do. That new product touches almost everyone’s desk at some stage in the process.  And it can disrupt the whole organisation if poorly designed.

Which is what makes managing NPD without the overview and insights so stressful.

It feels like driving a car without a dashboard. Pretty scary.

A poorly designed product creates the risk of lots of rework, lots of ‘fires’ to be solved urgently, and risk to the brand and company’s reputation. If NPD runs well, everyone is happy. A steady cadence of new products launching regularly makes the operations and sales teams jobs so much easier. And products that win awards make for a proud, happy workforce.

How do you get there?
What can you do to gain control and empower the team?

There is a process behind the madness. You just need to know what to ask, when, and to create the right conditions to empower the teams drive and creativity whilst keeping them aligned with the direction you’d want the company to go.

The good news: It’s easy to get right and it’s quick.
The bad news: it starts with you. (Sorry about that!)

A little bit of time investment makes a big long-term difference. Small investment, long term gain.

Learn what questions to ask, upskill yourself.
Invest in yourself, it makes all the difference.

Learn what to ask, how to get the structure and the conditions right, so you can get the overview (dashboard) and control the higher level. Leaving the detail where it belongs, with the team, the project managers – helping them to grow.

Get yourself up to speed, or even quicker: learn as a team and create the engagement from the start.

If you’re keen to start learning right now, here’s a few places to start:

Upskill yourself, get the conditions right to hire those crazy ones!

Let’s design for the better!

Onwards & upwards,



Be part of the conversation! – Come join me. I’m presenting at Foodtech Paktech on Thu 15th April. It’s a free seminar on the latest thinking in product development. Which can be a great way to meet me, learn and be part of the conversation. I look forward to seeing you there!

About Saskia

Saskia is a new product development expert. She helps organisations to unlock their potential to consistently deliver new products faster, better, more profitable and with more fun.

Here are five ways I can help you to make a difference by design:
(1) Set up a time to talk, give me a call (021-68 49 68) or send me an email.
(2) Download my “Product Development Warriors’ whitepaper. Find it here!
(3) Sign up to my newsletter.
(4) Connect with me on LinkedIn, you’ll also find me regularly posting there.
(5) Forward this email to a colleague.