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Zombie Apocalypse: Brilliant

Innovation requires empathy.

Recently, Amazon released Lumberyard, a video-game development platform.

Quoting from Lumberyard’s website,

“Amazon Lumberyard is a free AAA game engine deeply integrated with AWS and Twitch ….” (1)

If I was a game designer, I would be able to asses whether deep integration with AWS and Twitch were valuable features. But, I am not bringing Lumberyard to your attention because of its’ design features.

In the February 10th, USA Today (2), I learned about Clause 57.10 of Amazon’s Web-hosting service agreement as it relates to Lumberyard.

A partial quote of Clause 57.10 (3), states that:

“…. restriction will not apply in the event …… of a widespread viral infection …. that causes human corpses to reanimate and seek to consume living human flesh, blood, brain or nerve tissue and is likely to result in the fall of organized civilization.”

A zombie apocalypse clause in a service agreement - Brilliant

Sometimes, when we are doing innovation, it is easy to dismiss the emotional needs that a product might be able to satisfy. Regardless of the type of innovation, people want to buy products from people that understand them.

Gamer developers became gamer developers because they love games. Games are supposed to be fun. To me, Clause 57.10 signals that Amazon understands that games are supposed to be fun.

We will always need to be able to think like our customers, However, when we can feel like our customers, we can make instantaneous design and marketing decisions that increase the likelihood we will make something people want.

Nurses become nurses because they care deeply about people. So, make products that help them care for people.

For a plant manager, installing a new production line is risky. So, create a product that makes the future less scary.

Losing weight is about gaining social acceptance. So, make a weight loss product based on helping people feel good about themselves.

Gaining emotional intelligence is a high contact sport. It requires direct contact between the people that can solve the problem and the people with the problem.

It requires unfiltered information. Focus group glass walls, perfectly written summaries, and moderators that do not encourage clients to talk with customers are just a few of the filters that prevent us from gaining the empathy required for outstanding innovation.

Being there is the only way you can hope to move from thinking to feeling.

1) Lumberyard website; https://aws.amazon.com/lumberyard/details)

2) February 10th, USA Today;

3) AWS Service Agreement; http://aws.amazon.com/service-terms/

This is a guest blog post. Steven Fahrenholtz, a longtime General Mills executive and Carlson School of Business lecturer, is an innovation expert. Connect with Steve here.

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