Focused on Product Innovation? You Might Be Sacrificing Potential for Breakthrough Ideas

Posted by Jon Hall on Dec 19, 2014

Kodak was, for years and years, a very good product innovator: the company introduced hundreds of innovations over the span of more than 100 years…most of which related directly to film. At their peak the company had few competitors and about 87% share of the market; then came digital technology.

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Topics: innovation, innovative products, breakthrough products

8 Traits of High-Performing Innovation Cultures

Posted by Tami Wessley on Jan 30, 2014

It should be no surprise that the highest performing companies in the world are near the top of their industries in terms of effective innovation. How do some of the most successful organizations in the U.S. approach innovation?

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Topics: innovative products, culture of innovation, innovation management

So What? A Practical Guide to Creating Compelling Consumer Propositions

Posted by Jon Hall on May 3, 2013

So what? That’s the first question I ask when potential clients come to us with a new product or service idea. Typically, I’ll ask it more delicately, but my point is, can you clearly articulate what’s in it for the customer? Very often, entrepreneurs or inventors talk about the technology behind an idea, or all the attributes and features it has. The challenge is reframing that—think about it from the end user’s point of view, and go beyond saying what your product or device does, but what it does for me.  What are the unique benefits your idea can offer potential users, and is that something you can uniquely own? 

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Topics: innovative products, product innovation, developing successful products, new product ideas

What Are the Best Ways Companies Can Find Inspiration for New Products and Brand Concepts?

Posted by Pam Branam on Apr 16, 2013

Cross functional brand teams can offer a real advantage by providing a depth of understanding for how your product works, what your customers want and the scope of your company’s capabilities. However, there is also a danger that this expertise becomes self-limiting.  Conventional wisdom or functional silos creep in and cloud your view of new opportunities and ideas.

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Topics: innovation, innovative products, breakthrough products, innovation management

Do You Know Too Much To Be Creative?

Posted by Julie Hauck on Apr 9, 2013

While the economy is showing some encouraging signs of vitality, ongoing economic pressures intensify the need for breakthrough thinking. When money is tight, consumers tend to "default" to tried and true products they are familiar with. For companies to grow in this environment, it’s essential to provide compelling new benefits that will get consumers to take notice and take action. The challenge is to go beyond incremental thinking, where "new" products are simply variations on a theme (e.g., better, faster, easier, longer-lasting, etc.), and instead to create truly discontinuous offerings.

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Topics: innovative products, breakthrough products

When Should an Innovation Team Stop Researching and Start Innovating?

Posted by Julie Hauck on Apr 4, 2013

There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. These are things we don't know we don't know.”

--Donald Rumsfeld


Donald Rumsfeld may have been speaking about the Iraq war, but he also aptly describes the attitude of many innovation teams.  One of the biggest sources of consternation we’ve found for teams charged with finding white space opportunities is not knowing when they know enough to start innovating. There is a tendency to default to conducting extensive upfront quantitative research, including segmentation mapping, needs assessments, habits and practices studies, etc. before trying to create new ideas.  And while it’s sort of clichéd, there’s a lot of truth to the term, “paralysis by analysis.”  When it comes to innovation, our approach to research is don’t search for answers; look for inspiration.  Because you’re highly unlikely to identify breakthrough opportunities by researching the current state—the key is to find insights that can help stimulate breakthrough thinking.

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Topics: research, innovative products, idea management, innovation management