Innovation is a journey.
It begins when you realize the need for change in the market. It ends when your brand successfully incites, owns and reaps the rewards of that change. So where do you start?
Well, first off… you need to know a few things. And after helping quite a few clients embark on their respective innovation adventures, we’ve narrowed down the list to five essential “must-knows.”
Here’s the rundown…
1. Know where you’re headed.
The journey toward successful innovation starts with having a business-outcome in mind. For instance… do you want to increase margins? Differentiate against the competition? Become a leader on price? These goals will likely require different approaches—which, in turn, must be supported by different kinds of ideas.
2. Know yourself.
It seems obvious, but when you have a better understanding of your brand’s core equity, you have a better understanding of where/how far you can go (in terms of ideas and opportunities). Consider an internal audit, combined with competitor/consumer interviews, to get a solid grasp of precisely what makes your brand unique and relevant.
3. Know where you fit in.
With a renewed awareness of your core equities and capabilities, getting a sense of where you can (and should) compete is the next big step. Find out where the most attainable opportunities lie. Where does the competition fall short? Where is there a clear need for new ideas and disruptive thinking? Where do consumer insights lead to emerging opportunities… which brings us to the next point…
4. Know who you’re talking to.
Or—more specifically—who’s listening. Because every great idea deserves (and depends on) an eager, willing audience. Identify relevant segments and understand their tensions, tendencies and pain points intimately. What are their passions, persuasions and predilections? What are their frustrations? Get a sense of how they express themselves—and how their preferred products and brands fit into that expression.
5. Know how to dream.
You’ve done the groundwork. You’ve got a plan in mind. Now, it’s time to put your imagination to work. Well, actually… imaginations. Yes, that’s plural. Because we’ve always found that the best ideas draw on multiple points of view and varying experiences. As ideas merge, mature and coalesce, a clearer vision of what constitutes a winning concept begins to emerge… helping you put success within reach.
To get the widest breadth of thinking, consider using a purpose-built continuous innovation platform—like Dream Up—to diverge, converge and emerge… with a co-created offering that has the potential to break barriers, change expectations and live up to the title of “breakthrough” innovation.
How do you approach the innovation journey? Do you have any unique tips or strategies? Drop us a line—we’d love to connect!
As a member of Seed’s copywriting team, Matt Donahue marries his love for creative writing with a keen interest in product innovation, technology and science. He’s a graduate of Seton Hill University’s “Popular Fiction” master’s program and writes whenever he can.