Innovation Techniques

New Truth

You are looking for a new truth that is potent and inspirational. Many facts are technically true, but lack the power to inspire people. Find power in truth that energizes everyone who hears it, provoking enthusiasm and action. Note what this definition does not say. A common but unspoken assumption about insight is that it is “consumer insight.” It can be, but limiting yourself to consumers cuts off half the playing field. Try also to generate “commercial insights.”

Wow not without How

A fixation on the ‘wow’ over the ‘how’ is a widespread problem in innovation and a root cause of a lot of heartbreak, wasted money and missed opportunity.

Three common mind-sets

Try three common mind-sets when seeking insights:

  • You can seek insights like a “detective,” observing “people in action” and depending on “external research.”
  • You can be “an introspector,” looking first for new ideas within yourself and in the past. Later in the process, you can use external research to flesh out and “validate gut hunches.”
  • Or you can be “an empathizer,” gathering insights by “putting yourself in other people’s shoes.” 

B2B Innovation

Generating “business-to-business innovation” (B2B) is “far more complex” than innovating for the consumer market. When you create something for consumers, you market it to them pretty directly. But, B2B innovation is different. It occurs within “broad ecosystems” with multiple stakeholders. Focusing on consumers’ needs would not address all of these parties’ issues.

Failure-is-good myth

The failure-is-good myth leads people to smudge the line between failure and success. Multiple iterations of an idea might be necessary, and progressively better versions are not failures. Embracing failure can create an excuse for not examining your process.

Myths that Limit Creativity

  1. Partially true: If you address the marketplace, your business needs “will take care of themselves”
    The partial truth underlying this myth makes it dangerous. This approach works if your business is stable and functional and if your product is an incremental improvement. If you are opening new markets or challenging paradigms, it’s false.

  2. False: If you think about money, you kill creativity
    This myth links to the model of brainstorming as gentle, uncritical and welcoming, and it treats creativity as distinct from business. Thinking about money adds creative energy. In fact, bringing an innovation into the world successfully requires thinking about money.

  3. Partially true: People are most creative when they are free from pressure
    People do need unstressed time to think, but sometimes they also need pressure to drive “peak creativity” and spur them to deliver.

  4. False: If the idea is good enough, anyone can “make money from it”
    If your idea is genuinely disruptive, the idea may be the easy part. But making money is not so easy if people don’t understand your idea and you can’t explain it to investors. Success requires more than just a great concept.

  5. Unfair: Solving “problems is creative,” but making money is not
    This myth treats business and creativity unfairly. Business processes demand creativity at every step.

  6. Partially true: Use research to generate insight
    You can draw insights from research, but it’s not the only road to insight, which is a “synaptic process rather than a research deliverable.”

  7. False: Present new ideas in “a judgment-free zone”
    For best results, “fuse creativity and intensive constructive criticism.” A lack of evaluation equals a failure to ask tough questions about real-world applications.

  8. Partially true: “Prototyping as soon as possible is the path to glory”
    Prototyping works in the right contexts; for prototyping to be useful, try to address all the challenges it raises.

  9. False: “Failure is awesome” and a good lesson
    This pervasive, complex myth deserves special attention. Not everything you try when you innovate is going to work, so be willing to risk failure and face the psychological consequences. However, just because you must fail sometimes doesn’t mean that you should accept failure as good. Success is preferable and it teaches you more.

Source: How to Kill a Unicorn, Mark Payne


Comments are closed