Your objective is to sell your product. Your customers objective is to solve a problem.

Who is using my product in a way I never intended—and how?

Once a product has sold, it’s pretty much out of your control. You may have an idea why people will buy it, and what they’ll do with it, but the most you can ever do is guess. So why are you assuming that you know what your customer actually likes and values about your product, […]

Explore Observe Ask: Suspend Your Own Assumption

Understanding What Your Customer Wants Before They Know It

I used to spend a lot of time in India, as most tech guys do. The subcontinent can be spectacularly disorienting for a Westerner. On one trip, I stayed in a blissfully air-conditioned, five-star hotel. Outside there was 100-degree heat, and the uniquely foul stench of Kolkata’s open sewers and packed streets. Inside I had endless […]

Understand The Needs Wants and Fears of Your Customers

Avoiding your bias on what you think your customers want

All your work, all your ideas, all your devotion and sacrifice mean nothing if you’re not confident of whom you are doing it for or why. In order to succeed—whether you are developing a new product, service, or process—you must understand the needs, wants, and sometimes fears of the person you are targeting. Why is […]

Not Understanding Who Your Customers Are

Innovation Fail

A couple of years ago my kids gave my ninety-three-year-old grandma a digital picture frame for Christmas. It contained several hundred photos that they had painstakingly selected, organized, and then downloaded onto it. Every minute or so a new image of the kids living their lives would appear; exactly the kind of thing any grandmother […]

Why You Need an Innovation System

An innovation system ensures you identify the best ideas

So, what happens if you don’t use an innovation system like FIRE to innovate and execute the strongest ideas? One of the biggest dangers of not having a way to identify and execute the best ideas is that weak ideas get selected and the results are disappointing. When this happens, management loses confidence that the organization […]

Constraint Based Innovation

Constraining Resources To Drive Innovation

One of the keys I’ve found to successful execution is constraint based innovation. It is exactly what it sounds like. When I’m in the execution phase of the innovation process and assigning teams to various ideas, I’ll ask them, “How long will it take for you to create the product?” Whatever answer they give me, […]

How To Use A Stage Gate Funding Model To Create Your Innovation

Ensuring That Good Ideas Get A Chance To Prove Themselves

My motto throughout my career has been “Ideas without execution are a hobby, and I’m not in the hobby business.” Execution is a risk; it requires commitment, money, and manpower; but there’s no point going through the process of ideation if you’re not going to do anything with the end result. In the end, successful […]

Pitch Your Best Idea

Getting Your Organization Passionate About Executing The Best Ideas

The next stage is to consider how these ideas might be implemented by your organization. Step one is to think about how to pitch your best idea. Look at the top ideas and say to yourself as the leader, “These are great ideas—how can we execute them?”  The following questions will help you get to […]

Idea Ranking

Prioritizing The Best Ideas To Work On

Once you’ve generated your ideas the next step is idea ranking to determine the potential to become innovations. So, how do you decide which ideas to work on? The typical innovation process leaves that decision to the senior-level managers, which seems like a logical choice. They’re senior, so they should have the wisdom to make the […]

Ideation

Being Open To Ideas From Unexpected Places

The Killer Questions are used in the Ideation phase of FIRE. The point of the Killer Questions is to keep you focused on a specific facet of your organization, your customer, your product, or your operations, but at the same time keep your search for ideas expansive within that area. The Killer Questions will help […]