A list of necessary, if not always sufficient, steps for inventing something new and valuable:

  1. Obsess. Get an obsession with an idea/vision to the extent that you are physically uncomfortable if you don’t work on it.
  2. Research. Learn everything there is to learn about existing research/thinking related to the idea. In practice, this means learning as much as you can find and includes things that are even remotely related.
  3. Lose Sleep. Now get obsessed to the extent that you randomly wake up at night and start working.
  4. Prototype. Start creating prototypes. These could be anything from: mockups to designs to code.
  5. Seek feedback. Discuss your ideas, prototypes and challenges with the smartest people you can find. If you’re already working with a team of smart people, talk to people outside your team and organization
  6. Adjust. Be ready to be told you’re wrong. Listen to the arguments, adjust as necessary, but don’t abandon your idea.
  7. Ship it.