By Anthony Bell
While many innovators believe that successful innovation projects hinge on intuition skills and the ability to make quick decisions, the author of this blog argues that a systematic method for solving problems is the most effective tool for any innovation effort. To effectively solve a problem, first identify it correctly, and then gain an understanding of its root cause(s) and ask questions to generate a deeper understanding of the key issues. The success of any innovation project depends heavily on the “front end” of the process–where concepts for new products and services are sourced or created.
Research already knows this secret! We are the most methodical people in the company. The term “gut decision” leaves many of us up at night (indeed, Diageo even introduced new research guidelines to try to get folks out of their comfort zone). But as I think about the systematic approach to innovation a question comes to mind:
Is Research really doing enough of the “front end” diagnosing with business partners to get to the right questions?
Research needs to prioritize the pipeline to focus on high priority customer needs. Develop a tool that enables business partners to easily identify products that are commercially viable, prioritize development and coordinate product launches. It never hurts to keep the conversation interactive. A game board that allows line partners to prioritize complex customer needs and match them to appropriate research solutions is a perfect solution to the traditional Q &A. If all else fails, you can always just resort to teaching business partners to focus on questions that are crucial for long term success.
MREB Members, for more about front end diagnosing, check out our Internal Partner Issue Diagnosis Topic Center to avoid low-value research by helping internal partners ask better questions