Sure, we’ve all heard the happy innovation-by-accident stories: Post-It, Viagra, Gorilla Glass… but your transformation and future-proofing is not going to happen this way.

The way we help people like you to innovate is to shine a light on new opportunities. The metaphor is that, while you might be looking for your keys under the lamppost, we’ll get a torch and find them in the bushes.

The only way you can ‘know’ what you’ll be delivering in future markets is to decide for yourself and go at it. Future means any time after the end of this tax year. Trying to plan for the longer term is a tough call, but not impossible if you accept that the plan can change.

Here’s how…

Step 1  Look at your market critically.

Who’s developing a new product? Who’s collaborating with a partner to multiply their capability? Who’s beginning to advertise to an unexpected audience? Why?

What are the technology trends that could be worked into your product? Who will use it?

Step 2  Step back.

See the whole picture. Talk to people who aren’t embroiled in what you do. Ask for perspectives. See it from their angle. Get a sense of why customers buy your thing and not how they choose between you and the other brand.

Step 3  Come up with ideas for new stuff.

Call this ideation or creative thinking or whatever you want, but don’t do it first. Don’t think you know enough about your customer until you’ve worked through steps 1 and 2. Unless you follow the process, you will create ideas from your existing perspective and this can only develop more versions of what you already do. If product development is your target, this is fine. If you want to innovate (which may lead to product development as part of a short-term plan), take the time to do this the right way.

Step 4  Pick some options.

Your new-found view of the world will help you be objective. We have a way of working through options and applying selection criteria that removes emotion from the process. We call it the CRiTT test. It employs four key criteria to produce a list of ideas plotted on a timeline, or on a trajectory of difficulty – your choice.

Step 5  Test, test, test.

Go to market. Ask your end-users and customers what they think. Remember, they will see your idea through the lens of what they know today, and not in the context of how you believe the market will look when you get to launch. So, be circumspect about your reaction to their reaction.

Step 6  Plan your route to market.

The product you develop initially may not be how you see it in its final iteration. Just because you launch product A doesn’t mean this is how it has to stay. The idea of a Minimal Viable Product (MVP) is a popular one, and gets you into a revenue-earning state more quickly than waiting for the all-singing, all-dancing version. An MVP also allows you to gather reaction from your market. To begin to see what they like, and what could be better is valuable test insight. From this data, you will create a plan that meets declared user need, and execute against your strategic vision. Everybody wins.

In the launch planning phase, we recommend that end-user testing is continuous. We also recommend that you continuously scan the market for signs of opportunity and competition. See my video “Plan an innovation strategy like you plan a holiday” to see how this makes sense.

Missing a market position because you weren’t looking for the opportunity is commercially limiting, and could let competition steal your revenue. We specialise in shining a light into the corners and under the bushes. We help you to see things that weren’t visible before we added our naïve perspective, and together we will have a eureka moment.

The room44 proposition is that simple. We’ll help you to see your potential differently. It doesn’t need to take long and you won’t need us forever. When you work with us, you’ll learn how to run the process yourself, so there’s a double benefit.

If you’re interested in talking or want to know when we are next running a training session, please get in touch with me here. First calls are always fun, and we offer a free diagnostic session too.

You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. I look forward to talking.

Future thinking. Future proofing. It’s what we do. #room44innovates

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