How to Make Sure That Your Innovation Initiatives do NOT Fail?

How to make sure that your innovation initiatives do NOT fail?

Innovation is not just about coming up with new ideas but it is also knowing how to implement these ideas efficiently. Clayton M. Christensen, widely regarded as one of the world’s top experts on innovation and growth and author of the theory of disruptive innovation, says executives often fail because they study the wrong product and customer data. They don’t take into account the specific context of a job that needs to be done.

So what is it that we need to do? Here are 2 things Clayton M. Christensen is suggesting:

1- Understand what causes customers to make choices                                     

Clayton says that executives should be asking “What job would consumers want to hire a product to do?”. This seems to be an interesting perspective. It is forcing us to go deep into the customer’s thought process and understand how they make a decision. Let us take a look at any company that has achieved innovation success. For instance, as Clayton mentioned that Uber founders recognized that urban transportation was doing a poor job and found a way to improve cabs and car services within minutes on their phones. This seems to be a good example to understand what causes a customer to make a choice. In this case, Uber customers have access to secure, cheap and a faster service compared to a cab.


2- Think about what job your product or service will be replacing                           

When we think about our customers, we tend to think that the customer only wants our service. In doing so, we fail to give importance to which service people usually prefer. People are accustomed to the workarounds. So you have to (ask people to) fire something in order for them to hire your product. Clayton stresses on the need to look at the workarounds that your customers are needing to do as it becomes a real source of a lot of insights. One of the examples that he gives is to ask yourself what comes into your mind when you think of “Hey I need to furnish my apartment”. Clayton found that over 95 percent of people said IKEA.

To summarize, we need a plan to accomplish our innovation initiatives. The best thing to do is to study your customer inside out. Understand why and how they are making a particular decision and how will they change their mind.

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Practice ManagementOmar A.