Some excerpts on development of the Google Toolbar:
In the case of the Toolbar Beta, several of the key features (custom buttons, shared bookmarks) were prototyped in less than a week.Rapid prototyping. Experiment and learn. Fail quickly and move on.
In fact, during the brainstorming phase, we tried out about five times as many key features -- many of which we discarded after a week of prototyping. Since only 1 in every 5 to 10 ideas work out, the strategy of constraining how quickly ideas must be proven allows us try out more ideas faster, increasing our odds of success.
Speed also lets you fail faster ... It's important to discover failure fast and abandon it quickly. A limited investment makes it easier to walk away and move on to something else that has a better chance of success.
Innovation is exploration of the unknown. No one knows the best path. It is important to try many things, learn what works and what doesn't, quickly reject your failures, and build on your successes. That is the key to innovation.
See also Google CEO Eric Schmidt's thoughts on encouraging innovation in my earlier post, "Making innovation run rampant".
See also Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' thoughts on encouraging innovation in my earlier post, "Jeff Bezos, the explorer".