How Startups Build Innovative Products

Putting the “process” around the “creative process”

Joe Procopio
5 min readJul 19, 2021
image by vectorjuice

What if I told you that building an innovative product can be broken down into a simple three-step process?

Look, I would never claim that I could boil down the source of innovation into a modest three-step plan. Innovation is the one part of starting up that is most definitely magic, because it’s the one part that’s fueled solely by creativity.

That innovation magic has a good side and a bad side. The good side is what keeps me an entrepreneur. The bad side is when the mystery behind the magic makes innovation-on-demand seem impossible. If we’re going to be honest with ourselves, entrepreneurs aren’t magicians.

Except maybe Musk. I can see a top hat and a cape on that guy.

The truth, however, is that innovation magic doesn’t just happen. Innovation comes about when you do something wrong for a long time and are compelled to start doing it better.

That’s a scenario you can put a process around. Here’s the creative process that I’ve used for over 20 years to build innovative products.

Stage 1: Exploration

All innovation begins with experimentation — good old-fashioned research & development. But that…



Joe Procopio

I'm a multi-exit, multi-failure entrepreneur. NLG pioneer. Building & GROWERS. Write at and More at