Innovation takes Collaboration

Innovation takes Collaboration is a reboot of a 2014 blog post: https://fulcrumconnection.com/blog/collaborate-to-innovate/.

Creativity to address the five key challenges of innovation often takes collaboration.

One challenge of innovation is identifying a need whether articulated or not. For example, you can brainstorm current societal, economic, and technology trends with others and then identify current products or services that are not addressing those trends adequately (http://www.informit.com/articles/). These gaps in current products and services represent innovation needs.

A second challenge is designing a new product or service to meet an innovation need while generating as much desire as possible for that new product or service. To design the new product or service, you can apply the human-centered team approach used by industrial design firms like Ideo (https://www.usertesting.com/blog/2015/07/09/how-ideo-uses-customer-insights-to-design-innovative-products-users-love/). Typically these approaches include working with a small team to interview potential customers and customers who currently use a similar product or service. The benefit of working with a team is that one person can focus on the interview while a second person can focus on listening for understanding and a third person can focus on documenting the input.

A third challenge is pricing the new product or service according to the level of desire. If you have defined a new product or service niche with your innovation, then the more important this challenge is to the success of your innovation (https://hbr.org/2004/07/). In this case you can work with others to design a prototype of the new product or service and then interview potential consumers on what they would pay and what would make them pay more for the product or service (https://www.qualtrics.com/pricing-surveys/). Your team could also work with clients who are closer to the consumer than you are on optimizing the price for the product or service. Your team should be prepared to repeat this process for several iterations of the prototype that each incorporate consumer input.

A fourth challenge is producing or providing the innovation at as low a cost as is reasonable to generate profit. In the case of a service, you can work with the client to explore a price ceiling before providing a package price for the new service. In the case of a product, you may need to work with suppliers, manufacturing employees, assemblers, packagers, and others to price the product.

The fifth challenge is marketing the innovation to generate a large enough market to cover all costs for the product or service. As with the prototype of the product or service, you can prototype marketing content and delivery mechanisms to test effectiveness with your target consumers. Alternatively, you may wish to work with a marketing firm or marketing professionals to design a marketing strategy and marketing content. Make sure that who you decide to work with understand that marketing today is both an art and a science (http://www.chiefmarketer.com/whats-important-marketing-art-science/).

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