Killer Questions and Stepping Outside

Do Your Homework

Once you have assigned your Killer Questions, briefed your group, and set the date for the innovation session, it’s time for everyone involved to do observational homework. This is exactly what it sounds like. You need your team to get out of the office, into the real world, and make as many observations as possible […]

Killer Questions and Stepping Outside

Individual Ideas in Workshop Groups

Sharing and Grouping

At the end of the ideation part of the workshop, have the team members briefly talk through their individual ideas. Have them take their Post-it notes and place them on a flip chart or other surface that everyone can see. Get through this process quickly. You don’t need master’s dissertations. Start to group the Post-its […]

Ideation Workshop Game Plan

Coordinating Your Workshop

So what do you need to know as the leader of an ideation workshop? A workshop has multiple elements—participants, Killer Questions, and so on—but at the end of the day, the quality of the ideas directly relates to your ability to create a highly functional, highly effective group. In the following series of posts I’m […]

Ideation Workshop

Innovation Savings: Your Input Cost

What input, if reduced, would allow me to cut the price by 25 percent?

There is a reason that the percentage in this question is as high as it is. Sure, it would sound less scary and more reasonable if I asked you how you could cut your price by 5 percent, or maybe 8 percent, but that would be missing the point. If you want potentially game-changing moves […]

Input Cost

Innovate for Time-sensitive Customers

How can I cut the transaction time a customer experiences with my product?

My wife loves to look for travel bargains. Her main goal is to save money, and she considers spending several hours comparison shopping a fair tradeoff for savings. I’m kind of the opposite; in the very rare instances when I have to make my own travel plans I all I want is to find the […]

Customers

Innovation Process: Develop…Then Design Later?

In what order do you do the R&D process? What would be the result if you flipped it?

In the traditional R&D process, the product is developed and then handed off to the design team to “wrap” it and make it look pretty. The drawback is that this approach is out of date; in the last ten years consumers have become much more design-savvy. Consumers want functional, usable design that highlights ease of […]

Innovate and Design over the Competition

What industries are analogous to ours, and what can we learn from them?

No matter what business we are in, we are all fighting essentially the same fight—designing a product that a customer will prefer over that of our competitor. To do this, we need to constantly be aware of how our business environment is evolving, how our customers are changing, and what we need to modify in […]

Design Over Competition

Make Your Innovation Idea Happen, First!

What Comes Next?

A few years ago I saw a website offering a product called After the Rapture Pet Care. It claimed to offer a service for Christians concerned about the welfare of pets that would be left behind after the Day of Judgment. Subscribers were promised a network of non-Christians who’d swoop in, collect pets, and promise […]

Innovation Idea

Innovate to Get Ahead of the Competition: The Sputnik Moment

What products and services will I need to develop and offer to stay ahead of my competition in the next five years?

On October 4, 1957, Russia launched a beach-ball-sized satellite named Sputnik, which orbited the Earth in just over ninety-six minutes. The previous frontrunner in the space race, the United States, was now the runner up. Our only competitor had trounced us, seemingly out of nowhere. A month later the Russians sent up Laika, a small […]

Sputnik