24 / How to Overcome Barriers to Innovation


Product people chase innovation. Sometimes we grow frustrated by how much time it takes “to get there” and how many barriers to innovation stand in our way. We’ve been led to believe that sprinting as fast as we can toward innovation will help us catch that lightning in a bottle. All the while failing to consider that innovation is a long game.

Imagine the irony, says Jake Knapp, who joins Sean and Paul in this episode of the Product Momentum Podcast. The goal of the design sprint is not to help us move faster – at least not in the short term. It’s to get us to slow down. To pause, even for just a few days, by breaking down barriers and making time for one thing that really matters.

Three key takeaways from our conversation with Jake:

  • Be aware of the defaults in life that rob your attention, energy, and time.
  • Ask yourself: “what keeps me up at night?” And then listen closely for the answer.
  • Innovation is authentic and different and unique. It is the product of clarity in your mind and harmony in your heart.

Jake’s Recommended Reading

The Fifth Season, by N.K. Jemisin.

There There: A novel, by Tommy Orange.

About Jake

Jake Knapp is the author of Make Time and the New York Times best-seller, Sprint.

Jake spent 10 years at Google and Google Ventures, where he created the Design Sprint. He has since coached teams like Slack, Uber, 23andMe, LEGO, and The New York Times on the method. 

Previously, Jake helped build products like Gmail, Google Hangouts, and Microsoft Encarta. He is currently among the world’s tallest designers.

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