What idea are you amplifying?

"The way I see it, a product is an “Idea Amplifier”. You have an idea about something- phones or whatever- and you build a product as an expression of that idea."
—Hugh MacLeod, Gaping Void
I like this thinking a lot.  If we have clarity around the idea we are trying to give voice to through our products or services, we are more likely to amplify that concept through subsequent iteratiuons and innovations.

Think of one of your most successful efforts.  What was the idea behind it?  Was your success tied to how well the product, service, or program amplified and gave life to that idea?

Now think of an effort that stalled or has been underperforming.  What is the level of clarity for the idea behind the effort and how widely understood, accepted, and embraced is that idea? Might competing or differing ideas exist and the final effort reflects a lack of commitment to any of them?

The next time you find yourself planning a program or developing a product you might benefit greatly by asking yourself, what idea am I trying to amplify through this work?" 

P.S.  If you haven't read Hugh's book Ignore Everybody and 39 Other Rules to Creativity, I highly recommend it.