We don’t have to look very far to find needs that haven’t quite been met.
Think of how many times have you heard: “Someone should make a… << insert revolutionary solution here >>>!”
By the way, as a business owner, leader or entrepreneur, you are that Someone.
Before we set out to change the world, let’s be clear:
Innovation isn’t about a solution, product or process whose main purpose is to be ‘more advanced’, ‘newest’ or ‘better than the competition’.
A single step up from the last model isn’t innovative.
Delivering a solution that meets the needs, or more specifically, the unmet needs of your customers is.
Understand that we rarely ‘see’ unmet needs because we’ve either accepted things as they are or we’ve devised our own way of coping with the problem we long forgot.
Simply, we have to solve the problem to truly be innovative.
Then how do you discover what those needs are and start the innovation process?
- Be sure to involve equal representation of all of your core teams (i.e. Design/Engineering, Production/Operations, Logistics/Supply-Chain and Marketing/Sales) along with key stakeholders.
- Research and rank the reasons why your customers will and will not buy your products or services. These will become your values and opportunities (unmet needs).
- Determine how external factors (such as technology, economy and competition) will affect your customers and industry in the short, moderate and long terms.
- Each team member now has to develop the new solution from their perspective ensuring that it:
- Enhances the reasons why your customers value you.
- Leverages the changing external factors to your benefit.
- Protects against the negative effects of the external factors.
- Eliminates the reason(s) why your customers will not buy from you and answers the opportunities you discovered (unmet needs).
- Next, it’s time that you communicate your organisation’s non-negotiables (budget, timeline, etc.) and project boundaries to the team.
- Finally, the team must collectively reach agreement and create the vision for the end solution to follow through the next stages of development.
You’re also on your way to being able to ‘sell’ your solution to your customers, investors, executive team, and other stakeholders before you leap into further development.
Of course, this is just the first step of the process but we’ve already discovered opportunities and begun to solve our customers’ problems – being truly innovative.
With the right execution of this strategy, you can leave your competition reacting and in your rear view mirror.
Wouldn’t that make you that Someone…?
Leave a comment in our discussion forum. We’d like to hear about an opportunity you’ve found and how you met a gap in your customer needs.Share This