Increasingly we live in a society where we expect everything to be available instantly, 24/7/365. Yet often we take for granted the time and effort that it has taken to achieve this for each individual product or service.
On another axis the world is becoming increasingly interconnected and therefore more complex. How many of us could function in (or even remember) a world without: mains electricity; the internet; or increasingly always on and mobile internet. Take away any of these, and increasingly large swathes of our society cease to function.
What perhaps we haven’t truly grasped yet is that, due to the increased pace and complexity, we are increasingly living in a ‘beta world’ where many products and services are released before they are fully finessed.
With a traditional mindset this is seen as a flaw. Criticism is levelled at the provider, even when perhaps the product or service is offered, on a freemium basis. Often people overlook the significant benefits that it offers and focus on the flaws.
Operating is such an ‘always beta’ world requires innovators and organisations to look at their end to end process and assess whether it is fit for purpose. Does it allow for rapid iteration at any point in the lifecycle? Does it develop the business model in an integrated manner and in parallel to the technical solution? For example.
An area that becomes increasingly vital is feedback. Being able to actively and rapidly solicit, capture, and act on feedback from a wide variety of stakeholder groups is critical. And importantly communicate this back to the stakeholders.
Yet, how much resource is devoted to getting access to this valuable commodity?
Whilst technology offers many opportunities for organisations to access these stakeholder groups the real blocker, often is in the corporate mindset and individual and team behaviours in this area. My recent post on crowdsourcing highlighted some of the issues in this area, albeit in relation to one specific approach. Some of them, however, are equally applicable to the wider world of feedback.
Equally, as stakeholders, be this as users, investors, or developers, we need to help play our part in this area and differentiate how we provide feedback. For those organisations that come to market quickly with perhaps a 95% offering but who actively invest in soliciting feedback then we are more tolerant of the 5% deficiency.
Only by encouraging such an investment in feedback will the ‘BETA world’ approach actually derive benefits for all involved, resetting the baseline in areas where it is appropriate and ‘safe’ to use it, and therefore become sustainable.
At the moment I’m sure if asked, it would be easier to write down the names of those who don’t invest adequately in this area rather than those that do.