Share:

3 steps to fast, efficient innovation

The most efficient way to grow plants is to sow far more seeds than you need. You weed out the weak ones as they shoot, and again as they start to grow. At each stage you select the best specimens and put the rest on the compost heap to feed next season’s crop. After a month or two you’ve got the right number of strong, vibrant plants.

It’s the same for innovation. The chances of you getting things right first time are slim, so stack the odds in your favour – work up lots of alternatives, then quickly narrow down to the ones with the greatest potential. Innovation is a numbers game, so try as much as you can for as little as possible. Here are the three rules of rapid innovation:

One end, many means: Never confuse the opportunity with the solutions you’ve tried. I recently worked with a business that had dismissed a high value opportunity because the one product they’d launched at it had failed. In one afternoon a small group of sales people and design engineers came up with seven new ways to tackle the opportunity, two of which are now vying for launch funding. Which babies have you thrown out with the bathwater?

Green shoots of growthFast, cheap prototypes: Getting real prototypes in front of real customers is invaluable - nothing compares to holding, smelling and using something in real life. That might mean an investment in tools: 3D printers are the new must-have for product companies. But most of the time, you don’t need to be that sophisticated. When Priya Lakhani was creating Masala Masala she made up A-boards and batches of curry and stood in St Pancras station asking people what they thought. How fast are you getting your new stuff in front of real people?

Listen and react: One business I worked with was testing two new service formats: one more radical than the other. The radical one struggled and got negative feedback from day one, but rather than adapting, the test team continued to measure exactly how badly it was failing. When I was asked to run a review, the radical sites were close to mutiny, yet once we fed in a few simple changes, all suggested by the site managers, the radical group began to quickly outperform the more conservative set. How quickly can you change your design based on live feedback from the field?

BOTTOM LINE: Get plenty of alternatives, put your favourites in front of people as early as possible, focus in on those with real potential, and be prepared to rapidly re-design them based on what you hear.

Relevant Articles

How to deliver new business ideasRead more...
Innovating at scaleRead more...
What will you learn todayRead more...
The tribal thinking trapRead more...
The rarest commodityRead more...
Get inside your customer's mindRead more...
The secret to rapid growthRead more...
Quick fire innovationRead more...
Effortless InnovationRead more...
The high price of getting it rightRead more...
The low-cost way to dramatic growthRead more...
The Power of PartnershipRead more...
The genuinely ambitious strategyRead more...
How to be more innovativeRead more...
Creating an entrepreneurial cultureRead more...
Getting big growth in a small businessRead more...
How to grow your businessRead more...
A stream of great growth ideasRead more...
Opportunities that ruin your businessRead more...
Get focused on a Few Big ThingsRead more...
From Big Idea to business successRead more...
3 steps to fast, efficient innovationRead more...
Four ways to prepare for an industry sea-changeRead more...
Four ways to create success from failureRead more...
Six Secrets of Rapid LearningRead more...
Preparing for a launch? First, answer me one question...Read more...