I've come full circle on the notion of improvisation as a source of innovation. I just finished a three day improv training program at The Second City to try to find direct application to corporate growth. I found it.
Choosing an innovation consultant is challenging for two reasons: the client is not always clear what type of innovation they want, or they are not sure what type of innovation a consultant offers. Here are three factors to consider when choosing an innovation consultant: 1. TYPE of consultant, 2. METHOD used, and 3. ROLE of the consultant.
Katie Konrath at getFreshMinds.com tackles a common mistake in innovation - packing new features into existing products as a way to innovate - a problem I call "feature creep." Her main point: people pack products to the brim with features to be more innovative. Many believe this is the only way to innovate. Katie believes feature packing is a lazy way to innovate.
Why does this happen? The major culprit is too much reliance and emphasis on the traditional PROBLEM-TO-SOLUTION approach to innovation. We spot a problem in an existing product, service, or situation, and then we "solution seek" a way to fix it. We usually end up adding additional features to the existing product, service, or situation.
Visit the Applied Marketing Innovation Wiki to see a collection of inventions across a wide array of product categories as well as information about innovation consultants. The information is from students at The University of Cincinnati taking the graduate course, Applied Marketing Innovation.
An archetype is an original model of a person, ideal example, or a prototype after which others are copied, patterned, or emulated; a symbol universally recognized by all. Archetypes put context to a situation. We use archetypes, for example, in marketing. We create brand archetypes to assign a personality to the brand. An example of such a model is shown at right. In political debate, it's useful to understand whether a commentator is an "archetypical democrat" or an "archetypical republican." This helps frame their comments so we know where they are coming from.
Listing to the Voice of Innovation is the same. As I read blogs, interviews, podcasts, and books on innovation, I try to determine the author's innovation archetype so I know where they are coming from. I observe at least four of these.
People can improve the quality, originality, and elegance of ideas by extensively forecasting the implication of those ideas during the generation phase. Researchers from The University of Oklahoma studied the effect of forecasting on idea evaluation and implementation planning. In the experiment, 141 undergraduate students were asked to formulate advertising campaigns for a new product. These campaigns were evaluated by a panel of judges. Prior to formulating the campaigns, participants were asked to forecast the implication of their ideas and the forecast the effects of a plan for implementing their best idea.
Crowdsourcing has a crowd of critics. Crowdsourcing is the notion of distributed problem-solving where problems are broadcast to large groups of solvers in the form of an open call for solutions. The belief is that the "wisdom of the crowd" yields superior results over what individuals can do. The use of the term has spread to just about any activity that involves groups of people tackling an issue.
The critics have a point.
Companies can reduce the risk of adopting new innovation methods by testing them first. A short, pilot program that addresses a specific product or service line helps you understand whether a new method is right for your company. Pilot programs help keep your costs in line, and they help you reduce resistance to adopting new methods.
To organize an innovation pilot program:
The PharmaBrand Summit 2011 kicks off in Montreux, Switzerland this week. It will bring together senior executives and brand marketers from Europe’s largest pharmaceutical organizations. This year's theme is: "The arrogance of success is to think that what you did yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow."
That is certainly an appropriate theme for many industries including pharmaceuticals. These companies are in transition as many aspects of their business models are changing. Of particular concern is the shrinking product pipeline. The days of the billion-dollar blockbuster drugs seem to be gone, so how will they create a new pipeline beyond traditional VOC and research methods?
Yoni Stern and Amnon Levav of S.I.T. describe a unique approach using their innovation method to create new pharmaceuticals. The method is based on five patterns inherent in the majority of innovative products and services. These patterns are like the DNA of products that can be extracted and applied systemtatically to create new products, including pharmaceuticals. For this month's LAB, here are two examples of their approach.
A quick and effective way to sort ideas generated during an innovation workshop is to apply brand coherence. This means grouping ideas around relevant themes that support new or existing brands. Ideation sessions can overwhelm you with hundreds of opportunities. Teams struggle with evaluating and selecting the best ideas if they do not apply this simple step first. Here is a suggested way to do it.