Just Ask the Customers - Innovation is Easier Said Than Done

"Wow, this isn't as easy as you would think." 

That was one of the comments I overhead many times last week when our client asked the members of their Advisory Council to participate in an Innovation Workshop at a recent global meeting in Mallorca, Spain.

Members were walked through the process of innovating new products and services using a series of notecards that contained the various building blocks needed to take a product from concept to completion.  The building blocks included product specifications, business models, distribution, value proposition and marketing.

Members were divided into small groups and began by defining the problem that needed to be solved.  They were then given time to address the various components critical to developing a product/solution that they would then "pitch" to the remaining members as well as the host team.  After the pitch, each team would allocate their play money to the newly-developed product that they felt would provide them with the most value in their respective organizations.  Based on the total dollars allocated per product, the host team annointed the winners and presented them with lovely gift baskets.

Some comments from members included:

"Wow, I have a whole new appreciation for what goes into developing a new solution."

"This wasn't as easy as I thought it would be."

"There is so much more that goes into this - no wonder these things take time."

Most of the time, these meetings are about assuring that the host team leaves with market insight.  But every now and then, it's not so bad when the council members leave with a little insight of their own.

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