Any company wanting to become an innovation leader needs to extract insights and act upon them. Any and every innovation initiative should start by gathering concrete insights about the customers, market landscape, competitors, and other contexts. Strategic innovation is about creating new value for the customer and the organization delivering it alike.
Insights start with looking at people and their needs – always outside of the constraints of operational pressures. Moreover, thinking about consumers (as opposed to thinking about “people and their needs”) dehumanizes them and creates biased insights that are not deep or authentic – jeopardizing the quality of the product or service created in the end. People’s needs tend to be universal. That’s why researchers often look at extreme users – people who have “abnormal” or different than average/usual needs and wants to uncover the deeper meaning of what is that people actually need, what job do they want to solve through using a product or service. Looking at people’s mundane activities that they either struggle with or have a special way of carrying out – can serve as the best observation to initiate an ideation process of how to solve the “jobs” people need solving. Intuit founder’s business idea started when he observed his wife’s struggle to cope with keeping track of family finances. Clayton Christensen’s famous milkshake case study also is a brilliant example of how customer insights are in fact actionable and commercially-potent needs uncovered through rigorous first-hand research.
See a short with C. Christensen: Click Here