How to design a successful digital product or service

How to design a successful digital product or service

By Justin Eames August 2022

You’ll already know that ideation is the process of forming ideas. When we’re talking about digital product or service development our definition of ideation is a little more specific. We’re talking about taking ideas from inspiration through to implementation.

This applies equally to websites, apps, games, interactives and any other digital product or service.

The journey of an idea

All successful ideas move through three stages; Inspiration, Ideation and Implementation (see IDEO: Design Thinking for more on this).

  • Inspiration is the motivation to explore an opportunity that has been identified
  • Ideation is the work carried out to explore, improve and prepare ideas for successful implementation
  • Implementation is the process of making an idea a reality. By creating a digital product or service for example, but it applies also to organisational processes

The Ideation stage in digital product and service development is critical. That’s because no matter how brilliant your idea is, it needs to be implemented well to find success.

Doubt kills more ideas than failure

Few of us are formally educated in the process of ideation. Yet many of us are responsible for it. Realising the potential of a new digital product or service requires experience. It involves knowing how to take the nub of an idea and inspire teams to evolve it from concept through to implementation. You need knowledge and confidence to do those things well. Your success depends on it.

One of my favourite quotes is this:

“Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will”

Suzy Kassem

I can relate to it because in our work at fish in a bottle we usually identify doubt as the main barrier to success for our clients.

This doubt comes from the fact that few people have experienced the process of taking an idea from Inspiration to Implementation enough times to become expert at it. This introduces doubt. It’s where the most significant risk lies.

The good news is that doubt is very easy to overcome using a simple methodology we call the Ideation Framework.

Just as we are all capable of having great ideas, now, using the Ideation Framework from fish in a bottle, everyone can be capable of moving those ideas through to implementation in an efficient and highly effective way.

How can an ideation methodology help you?

Let’s explore four typical scenarios under which the Ideation Framework can help reduce risk and increase the chances of success.

You have a start-up and you’re building an app or website

The Ideation Framework will help you understand the detail of your opportunity. You will quickly identify the needs of the people who will use your product or service. You will map those needs directly to features, quickly visualising and proving your concept while managing risk, so you are able to build your product or service to the funding stages available and unlock new ones.

You’re in charge of a new digital product or service within an established organisation

The Ideation Framework will help you align and motivate teams around you. You will be able to capture organisational requirements and user needs, delivering the best possible features within the constraints of budget, time and resource, as well as communicating your plans clearly for stakeholder buy-in.

You’re leading the transformation of an existing digital product or service

The Ideation Framework will help you understand the merits of an existing product or service and the impact on existing users that changes will make. The development roadmap will help you plan and budget improvements as well as manage risk as you roll out changes.

You need to improve a specific aspect of an established digital product or service

The Ideation Framework will help you focus on the detail of a feature or process. Its design thinking approach puts structure around ideation and ensures the needs of your users are at the heart of your improvements, feature by feature.

The advantages of an ideation framework

Our Ideation Framework has been developed over nearly twenty years of experience in designing digital products and services for global organisations and innovative startups. It’s been used to produce websites, apps, games and interactives along with many other digital products and services. That work always starts with a vision and ends with a real product or service often positively impacting millions of people.

One of the key advantages of the Ideation Framework is that is dovetails into agile development. This means that your designers and engineers will know exactly how to take the output of the Ideation Framework and move it into their implementation of the digital product or service. No further stages or work will be required and the risk of miscommunication and misalignment is removed.

Five easy to apply stages that will move your idea from inspiration to implementation

The Ideation Framework is run over five easy to apply and highly effective stages:

1. Canvas
2. Validate
3. Ideate
4. Prioritise
5. Roadmap

The Canvas stage is all about preparation. We capture key information about your idea and generate questions in a format that is proven to make ideation more effective.

During the Validation stage we carry out research to discover opportunities and validate hypothesis. These take the form of actions that are triggered by questions asked and statements made.

When we Ideate we bring selected people together to develop ideas using a creative ideation methodology, guiding people through what would otherwise be a chaotic and high risk process.

The Prioritise stage helps prepare a digital product or service for implementation using a simple refinement and prioritisation process. At the end of this stage we have the outline of a digital product or service that meets the requirements of your organisation and the needs of your users.

During the Roadmap stage we move ideas to features, milestones and actions on a desired timeline. This completes the process of moving an idea from Inspiration through to Implementation.

The most important aspect of the Ideation Framework is that it allows people with any amount of experience to successfully lead the design and development of a digital product or service by capturing the huge amount of knowledge we have gained over twenty years of working with leading organisations.

The Ideation Framework helps us build confidence, reduce risk and remove doubt.

If you would like to know more about the Ideation Framework from fish in a bottle, or how to design a successful digital product or service contact us.

Justin Eames
Blog Author:
Justin Eames
Justin is fish in a bottle’s CEO and Head of Innovation. He demystifies digital product development and helps organisations design for success.

Four Ways That Technology Will Help Re-open Museums and Galleries