Data and Analytics

5 Secrets of Innovation

5 Secrets of Innovation

March 31, 2020 | Kurt Baumberger

Benjamin Franklin famously said there were only two things certain in life: death and taxes. But I'd like to add a third certainty: change. In fact, technological change is moving at a dizzying speed. How can you keep up? What do you need to do to not merely survive, but thrive? Here are five secrets of innovation, and why they are so important.

1. Implement Design Thinking. 

   It’s a process that is the only way to understand what people really want and need, especially when there are latent (or hidden) needs. Go see what people do.

Observe people in their own environment.

By having empathy for the people who are in pain, then you’ll know what they really need, and it’s probably not what you think.

2. Use Iterative Prototyping.

Whatever you create, 50 percent of it will be wrong. The problem is you don’t know which 50 percent is right and which fifty percent is wrong.

It takes three rounds of prototypes before you reach the point of making incremental improvement.

If you let people show you where they find real value as you move from one prototype to another, they’ll probably pay more.

3. Be Agile.

Did you know that 90% of projects that last more than 90 days will end in failure? Think about it. How many projects have you worked on that just keep going on and on and never finish?

You need to work quickly in two-week sprints to continuously learn and experiment.

But you also need to limit your work to 90 days because priorities change. Budgets get cut. People move on.  So start small, THINK BIG, move fast.

4. Tell Stories.

All innovations start with a story. Stories help people connect with the people you are looking to serve, feel the pain they are experiencing, find hope in your innovation, and transform people’s lives to be simpler, easier, cheaper or healthier.

Stories combine both a rational argument and an emotional appeal.

Stories are how people change because they innately aspire for a better day.

5. Overcome Objections.

It is far easier to say “no” to a new idea than it is to say “yes.” Yet, objections can be easily overcome if you know what the “Devil’s Advocate” in the room will say.

Fortunately, the objections are predictable so you can fashion your responses beforehand.

This advance knowledge allows you to defeat the Devil’s Advocate with ease. Because knowledge is power.

How to Overcome a “Devil’s Advocate's” Objections

These tips are designed for change agents - managers, product developers, innovation leaders, marketers and salespeople - responsible for changing the status quo. Because while change is certain, progress is not!

Devil’s Advocate: How do you even know this is a problem?

Answer: Like anthropologists, we went out and observed people in their environment to understand their problems using Design Thinking methodology.  

Devil’s Advocate:  How do you know what’s causing the problem?

Answer: We analyzed what’s happening today in a Journey Map to identify the root causes of the problem and the pains created.  

Devil's Advocate:  How do you know this is the best solution?

Answer: We generated scores of ideas and carefully combined them to build a comprehensive solution.  

Devil's Advocate:  Why doesn’t your solution have “x” feature?

Answer: We created iterative prototypes with our users to ensure we solved their problems when, where and how they used our solution.  

Devil's Advocate:  How do you know your solution will work?

Answer: We spent 90 days using Agile Development to test each of our critical assumptions focusing on interaction, integration and implementation.  

Devil's Advocate: How do you know people will adopt your solution?

Answer: We used storytelling principles to express where people found enough value to invest the time and/or money to adopt our solution.  

Devil's Advocate:  How are you going to overcome resistance?

Answer: We will overcome objections showing how our solution will transform people leading them from “what is” to “what could be.”  

Learn about how we innovate in our "Summer of AI" e-zine.