When Steve Jobs had the initial iPhone prototypes built, he started using it. Scratches on the screen annoyed him—and the ultimate design was improved. An article in Business Insider told the tale this way:
Steve had been using a prototype iPhone for a few weeks, carrying it around in his pocket. When his lieutenants were assembled, he pulled the prototype out of his pocket and pointed angrily to dozens of scratches on its plastic screen. People would carry their phones in their pockets, Steve said. They would also carry other things in their pockets--like keys.
And those things would scratch the screen. And then, with Apple just about to ramp up iPhone production, Steve demanded that the iPhone's screen be replaced with un-scratchable glass, "I want a glass screen," Steve is quoted as saying. "And I want it perfect in six weeks."
Apple sourced the glass from Corning, an American company. To get product in time, Apple ended up working with a Chinese manufacturer to get a factory built, and to get a team of engineers to figure out how to make the new screens work. Within weeks, iPhones were rolling off the lines. "Three months later, Apple had sold 1 million iPhones," the article said. "Four years later, Apple has sold ~200 millions of them."
In this case, because it was a consumer product, the issues were easy to identify. However, if the company hadn't done their work, the iPhone may not have become a household name all over the world. In the business-to-business (B2B) sector, where a product is very specialized, this type of iterative innovation is less common.
In the B2B space, then, it's critical to have structure and process in place to get feedback from end users to support innovation and ensure proper change management to allow input to be incorporated. Without help, adoption can get stuck. This can take many forms, from a suggestion box or web site that collects feedback to longer user-input sessions.
Usually, IT and business groups are moving these processes ahead. The engineers are smart but tend to make things too
technical and complicated because for smart people complicated things are easy to do. Operations, meanwhile, adopts a Keep it Simple Stupid (KISS) approach that dumbs down everything. You can capture the best of both of these worlds by experienced operations guys or even consultants that have deployed many operational capabilities. They can look at the end product before deployment and provide feedback, discerning whether it makes sense for their users, before doing the department wide roll out. By addressing user feedback, this team can make the change management phase of the project easier and ensure smooth adoption.