Part 1: People not pixels, experiences not exposures
Articulating the value of any new experience through a problem statement is difficult. Potential users often don’t value what they can’t see. And ‘ideating’ use cases was simply not data driven enough to motivate the company to trust the opinions of the venture team. How could we deviate from the company’s traditional sustaining innovation processes (see Clayton M. Christensen’s The Innovator’s Dilemma) to quickly and cheaply test whether people would embrace this technology?
We knew that ‘computational photography’ was a mouthful for most people. We also knew that any discussion of disparity algorithms and depth maps was beyond the target user who just want to focus on people, not pixels and experiences, not exposures. (Having a tagline doesn’t hurt the cause, by the way). We started by using tools like storyboards and animations to test what people might expect from this new camera. You could call this stage exploring the value of “better” – would people value better dynamic range in photos? Would they like better slow motion video? Would they like better sharpness? Of course. But it should not have been a surprise that we had limited success describing the real potential of something disruptive with usages that are much more sustaining in nature. Using these traditional practices, we learned that better was indeed better but better wasn’t ‘Wow!’