Why are new products typically treated like sausage? When developing new products, most companies keep the development process entirely under wraps. Prior to the product launch, everything happens behind a curtain of secrecy until the moment when—voila!—the product is “ready” to be presented in its fully-realized form to the world. As a result, even when we look at those products that we love the most, we know nothing about how the product came to be.
I know there are lots of good reasons why companies shroud their product development in secrecy. One obvious yet still-significant concern is security. If you allow even the slightest peek into product development, there’s a good chance that some plant in Taiwan will have a copycat on the streets in a matter of hours. And I suppose you also surrender some control when you let people behind the curtain: if you show video of a product that hasn’t yet launched, there is a chance the product will flop and be honored with YouTube videos that remix your footage to a circus soundtrack.
But this near-categorical cover-up of the creation process forgets the fact that most adults grew up playing with Legos. Continue reading