Steve Jobs in 1995:
There’s just a tremendous amount of craftsmanship in between a great idea and a great product. And as you evolve that great idea, it changes and grows. It never comes out like it starts because you learn a lot more as you get into the subtleties of it. And you also find there are tremendous tradeoffs that you have to make. There are just certain things you can’t make electrons do. There are certain things you can’t make plastic do. Or glass do. Or factories do. Or robots do.
Designing a product is keeping five thousand things in your brain and fitting them all together in new and different ways to get what you want. And every day you discover something new that is a new problem or a new opportunity to fit these things together a little differently.
This is why almost all successful innovation organizations need to understand the company’s business, as well as design, and technology. Product development is the process of navigating a maze – not three separate mazes, but a single maze that intersects all these functions. The people navigating the maze need the full authority of the company behind them and tools to make them more effective.
Product development that is outsourced to the crowd, given to an inexperienced team or understaffed has been shown time and again to only deliver sort-term cost savings. The loss of institutional knowledge, category experience and business acumen can take years to rebuild before the team can deliver sustainable growth.