Three Techniques You're Not Using to Find Innovation Opportunities
Updated: Apr 21
Most tech companies want to build new things. But how can you ensure what you're building is innovation a market will buy?
#1: Adopt an "Everything is Knowable" Culture
Too often, Market Strategists give up on market-driven innovation before they start. "New products are only really innovative if nobody's thought of it yet!" is a theme I've heard often. We assume innovation means coming up with something completely new and "creating a market." That's a very risky way to innovate.
If you assume you can listen to the market to discover opportunities for even disruptive innovation, you begin to realize that there are signals everywhere. Removing the blinders is the first step.
#2: Expand Your Listening Beyond the Market
Talking to buyers and users is a good way to continuously improve existing products, but often unproductive for uncovering future needs or a different and better way to solve an existing problem.
To find disruptive innovation ideas, you can ask these same people different questions, but you should also look beyond current customers to the regulations that constrain them, the technology that underpins their operations and the changing preferences of their demographics. Consult your own legal team, designers and customer service leaders to determine whether there are innovations in those functional areas that could inspire indirect improvements to your offerings that would make them radically better for your market.
#3: Connect the Market Insight Dots for Inspiration
Once you're bringing together insights and options from many sources, you're more likely to find unexplored opportunities to innovate on purpose. But to do so, be sure to examine what's changing, what direction a trend is heading and how changing technology in one area of a business could impact another - perhaps the one you specialize in. Connecting the dots on seemingly unrelated events, inventions and perspectives has given us "miracle" products from the tablet computer to grocery delivery.
Disruptive innovation seems like a miracle - but it isn't. Expand your market research beyond the buyer and user to find opportunities hiding in plain sight.
About the Author
Diane Pierson is the Founder and Principal Market Strategist of Innovate on Purpose, a consultancy enabling successful product innovation for tech companies through strategic focus and powerful go-to-market strategies. Diane is also a visiting instructor at Pragmatic Institute. Contact Diane at email@example.com.