Simplifying OSS innovations

It started with ‘What incredible benefits can we give to the customer…Where can we take the customer?’ Not starting with ‘Let’s sit down with the engineers and figure out what awesome technology we have and how we’re going to market that.’”
Steve Jobs

  • Do you exactly know who uses your OSS (not which customers, but which of the customer’s representatives use it)?
  • Do you know what they are trying to achieve when using your OSS?
  • How do you know?
  • Can you break these desired achievements down into key benefits?

For Jobs and the team as Apple, the iPod was derived from the following key target benefits:

  1. Large song capacity – enough to store nearly your entire collection of CD’s
  2. Small enough to fit in your pocket
  3. Long battery life (the Diamond Rio was capable of 8 hours, anything higher than that would have been a major improvement)
  4. An intuitive user interface and navigation
  5. A fast, simple and consistent method to transfer songs

Let’s take benefit 4 in isolation. It provides enormous scope for innovation doesn’t it? The team at Apple constrained the user interface scope to having a single button and started their innovation from there.

Benefit 4 transfers to OSS without needing a single modification in wording. Each OSS needs an intuitive user interface and navigation. Too many do not.

Some would argue that an OSS has far more complex functionality than a media player. True. But each module within an OSS generally has a very small set of objectives. For example, Alarm / Fault Management modules have the primary objective of maintaining network health. This could be broken down to:

  1. Identify network degradation or fault (predictive or actual)
  2. A fast, simple and consistent method to determine remedial activities
  3. Efficient coordination of remedial activities
  4. Learn from logged data, events and activities to continually improve network reliability
  5. An intuitive user interface and navigation

How would you look at constraining each of these objectives to make innovation more focussed and profound in relation to the user experience?

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