Dec 12, 2011, 1:38 PM
Last week we began our look at “innovation.” We started by establishing the difference between Innovation and Invention. Innovation takes what is there and makes it better. Invention is the creation of the idea or method which did not previously exist. Innovation is not magic because there is a process by which any organization can systematically become more innovative. The magic, of course, is in the execution of the process. Finally, we established the key to successful innovation as remaining “outcome focused.” By focusing on understanding exactly what your customers wanting to accomplish at a given touch point with your product or service – you can discover ways to improve how the customer obtains these benefits and what their feelings, emotions, etc. are at the outcome.  That brings us to our Orgwide 7 step Innovation Methodology:  Create a Customer Experience Map -- Identify customer touch points with your product/service  Identify Customer Outcomes – using your customer experience map, outline what the customer wants to accomplish at each touch point by customer segment  Determine the Current State – Conduce customer research to validate your findings and uncover unmet customer needs  Prioritize – find the areas to focus upon.  Test – try your new innovations in a controlled setting.  Implement – put your new innovations into practice more widely.  Measure and Adjust – always be flexible to make adjustments. This week, we’ll take a closer look at each step in the process.     Create a Customer Experience Map Customers interact with your organization in a variety of ways and in a number of places during their “purchase journey.” Further, they have an end in mind at each stage of their experience with your product or service. They do not value your solution, so much as the end results they achieve. You will find it helpful to create a graphic showing the customer journey – from shopping, to selecting, pre-purchase communication, interaction with your product or service after purchase, billing, and post purchase communication are types of touch points that you may consider analyzing. Understand and “draw” how and where your organization touches your customer – and where you customer is looking to solve a problem.   Identify Customer OutcomesAt each touch point, identify what the customer is trying to achieve – and then how you might improve it. Improving customer outcomes in most part can be categorized in one of three (3) ways:1. Increasing the speed at which the job is done – Faster.2. Improving the quality of the end result of the job - Better3. Minimize cost - paying for more than needed or the total amount paid - Cheaper Here you may elect to create a table with the identified outcomes by touch point by customer segment. Then, brain storm the opportunity to impact the outcome by the three categories of “faster, better, cheaper” (minimize time, increase quality, and minimize cost).   Determine the Current StateThis step involves conducting research including customer surveys, competitive analysis, etc. It is critical when conducting your consumer research that you ask both quality and speed outcome statements (Does XX happen fast enough? Have you purchased XX of higher quality elsewhere?). Also, ask your customers to rate the importance and satisfaction with current outcomes. This will be critical information for the next step.   Prioritize Identify highest priority opportunities for innovation using an “opportunity quadrant.” This is simpler than it sounds. Plot the outcome data you collected from your customer surveys in a quadrant where one axis is the importance of the outcome (from not important to very important) and the other axis is the current level of satisfaction with the outcomes (from very dissatisfied to very satisfied). Focus and prioritize your efforts around those outcomes of highest importance and lowest satisfaction. This is where the low hanging innovation fruit exists (OK, my apologies for the over-used jargon). Now, you’re ready to develop new ways of using existing products, processes, technologies, or ideas to create improved (faster, better, cheaper) outcomes for your customers. Keep your focus on the customer’s outcome!   Test, Implement, Measure and AdjustNot to diminish the value of steps 5 through 7 – but this is a blog and I’m running out of space! Run tests on the various options that you selected from the prioritize phase and measure your results. Based upon the results, select the appropriate innovations for broader implementation.  Don’t forget to create a communications plan outlining the “Why we’re doing this, what’s in it for you and what’s in it for our customer” to those involved in the implementation and delivery. Again, measure your results – and make adjustments as needed to maximize the benefit of your innovation.    Innovation is not the same as invention. Innovation is improving that which exists today, which means measuring the current outcomes and focusing your resources and efforts. Stay focused on outcomes from your customer’sperspective, and follow this step by step process and you’re well on your way to learning the “magic” of innovation. Send me your thoughts on innovation and take a peek at some of our latest innovations. Feel free to Click Here to learn more about how your organization can implement the Innovation Magic I’ve outlined. Until next time remember – Take care of the customer, take care of each other, take care of yourself!
Dec 5, 2011, 1:38 PM
In my discussions with business leaders across multiple industries the need for “Innovation” seems be in vogue these days. I don’t know if it is a sign of the recovering economy and the results of…

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