Thursday, 25 April 2013

12 Trends in 2013 for New Products? At least 4 will propel your firm to greatness.

Recently "Trends for new products and services in 2013" was published Are they correct? When contextualized into a low vs. high market + a startup vs. corporate model yes, they create  value. How can your firm benefit? Simple: Growth by Innovation or Growth by Acquisition. Here's how & by simplifying we get to the meat of making it happen.

2013 Trend 1: Tension is where competition starts
Summary Description: "Services that let you be predictable one day and impulsive the next, and products that appeal to values that once seemed in tension: eco and luxury, traditional and playful, retro and hyper-modern.
Innovation Model: Start a news company/division that pays attention to what people are doing & where they are going on a daily basis
Acquisition Model: Buy these users, their clicks, there location information and/or preferences, details and usage patterns

2013 Trend 2: "Customer-facing employees are your brain and your backbone."           
Summary Description: "The sales associate, the courier, the flight attendant, or the service agent--in many ways these are your most important, best-informed people. "
Innovation Model: innovation tracking software, blogging aggregation, employee twitter analytic systems
Acquisition Model: Walk around, take notes, weekly outings with employees and clients and implement new business lines based on output

2013 Trend 3: Slow Analog just as important as Mass Market Digital 
Summary Description: "[the] people and processes that made them [products], form an emotional connection that digital can’t match."
Innovation Model: having in house designers go out and  interface (paid by the company) to work with international superstar artists, designers, musicians, architects.
Acquisition Model: hire these designers to design for your firm. 

2013 Trend 4: "Worth is determined by philosophy, not price"
Summary Description: "If two competitors spend equal amounts on production, the one whose ideals resonate with the target market is the more valuable."
Innovation Model: Create articulate and specific core values in a replicitable manner in all aspects of imagery  materials, interactions, etc. Walk the walk and talk the talk
Acquisition Model: Find adjacent companies who know how to do this, purchase them no matter how small and hi-jack and inject. It's called copying, injecting, and "trending" and that's why it works.

2013 Trend 5: Narratives make information stick.
Summary Description: "A story out of chronological order is nearly impossible to remember, but information that has a beginning, a middle, and an end becomes something we can own, embrace, and share"
Innovation Model: If your firm does not have a history start creating one, people, the people who started, stayed and built the firm are the reason why people stay just as much as the products and the people that use them.
Acquisition Model: hire design superstars to design for your firm. 

2013 Trend 6: "Repair and Re-purpose"
Summary Description: "A growing consumer subculture that sees hacking and repairing as an indicator of true ownership. [Successful] firms will offer products and services that invite users to actively maintain and modify, winning loyalty and love along the way."
Innovation Model: How are hackers, designers, disruptors and deconstructionists using and LOVING your products. If they aren't, if you aren't showing it, other firms love will outpace you.
Acquisition Model: hire design, music, super user superstars to do this for you

2013 Trend 7: Technology is too fast, ignore it. 
Summary Description: "Only a slim population of early adopters counts pixels or processor speeds anymore. The rest of us just want to know what it’s like to use. Talk about experiences, not features. "
Innovation Model: R&D inside your firm, set aside 12-18% of net revenue and start a skunks works IP and commercialization division. If you not, someone else is doing it, else, see #6 and #5 above and start talking about superusers.
Acquisition Model: buy firms, students, designers, R&D or hackers to do this and bring their work in-house and brand it as your own. 

2013 Trend 8: "Flawless" isn't a reality, so make it one. 
Summary Description: "Despite the proliferation of features, more of us are realizing that what we really want is a phone that makes good calls, every single time. [So] fill in the gaps."
Innovation Model: Basic works, simple works, ie. Microsoft Metro: slimmed down to the core and the usable and thanks to "minimalism" it is accepted and desired. Capitalize on this. But it costs and your going to have to hire internally to do it.
Acquisition Model: buy this from designers who know how to make it seem simple - it's more complex than you know. 

2013 Trend 9: Brand Loyalty means no Decision Pain
Summary Description: "Once we believe that our values and choices align, we’re happy to leave choices to the brand that’s earned our trust, and shift some of the burden off our own shoulders. Communicating in familiar language, [means[ relax. “Go ahead,” and “ we've got you covered.”
Innovation Model: Make a model that encompasses all of the above and if you can't don't because hacking it together without consistency is like buying a 50's Fiat - your going to be fixing it constantly and spending a lot of money to do it.
Acquisition Model: buying smaller firms that have this down and injecting that DNA into your firm. 

2013 Trend 10: Human interaction is everything
Summary Description: "[Know] when customers need to be listened to or expect the nuanced expertise that only a person can provide. Automat[ing] everything [does not work]" 
Innovation Model: Talk on the phone more, stop texting, go to lunch, visit the client and their clients, build this into the DNA of the firm and stop using outsourced call centers in lands with employees that read off a script to save a dime. It will cost.
Acquisition Model: buy a firm that does this & bring it in house as soon as possible. 

2013 Trend 11: Gen Y is a Service Economy 
Summary Description: Don't ignore  "AirBnb vs. VRBO, or Etsy vs. eBay as Gen Y is defined by optimism, social engagement, and digital fluency, and these are attributes that can attract older customers as well. The key is to act as an enabler, not a controller" 
Innovation Model: Bring on innovation interns and create an in-house innovator in residence program and then pay them. This just might be tomorrows next great business unit and it's cheap to do when it's just a let's try it and see model.
Acquisition Model: buy the firm that someone else didn't monetize when they fired the person with the great idea who the firm couldn't commercialize due to internal politics, ego, or god knows what.

2013 Trend 12: Specialists create followers & followers create cash
Summary Description: "Trying to be everything to everyone is a losing proposition. As customers embrace their connoisseurship, they seek out brands that match it. " 
Innovation Model: Bring these brand leaders in-house as in the examples above and if you can't make your own based on employees that are firm & product leaders right inside your house. Your son or daughter is a star musician? Make them the star of the family. Same with your firm.
Acquisition Model: hire designers, musicians, artists who do this on an international scale and make them do it for your firm.

These top 12 trends are not our own, but make clear sense when implemented with the iGNITIATE disruptive design model which most firms ignore. Build or Buy or be Buried. 

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

The Secret To Design Innovation? It's hidden in plain sight.

Digging with fixers is what separates the innovators from the also-rans. Thomas Edison did it. Reed Hoffman did it. Steve Jobs in the beginning did not but then quickly learned to. So who in your firm is sifting and then fixing what they find? 

Examples of this abound at Salone Del Mobile the worlds largest design fair in Milan however for the more academic desires examples can be seen with Right Ideas in the Wrong Places and then uncovering Secrets of Design Innovation via the key of observing those who are knee deep in the process and in situations of just do it to create differentiation in their work. While this is related to advanced R&D process where the output is different the principal still holds true. Some of the tools can be examined above and through the posts here and on the iGNITIATE blog. Happy fixing!


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Friday, 5 April 2013

How to Beat the #1 Creativity Crusher to Innovation: You

Next week at the world's biggest design event, Salone Del Mobile, Milan you might be overwhelmed by miles & miles of the best designers in the world thinking your firm isn't innovating because of your CFO's R&D spending attitude or your Board's risk averse ways. You might feel you can't compete but here's how top innovators beat that feeling:

1) It's all self doubt, so cut that out and you've beaten it. How?
2) Remember why you create and innovate in the 1st place
3) Take small steps. or you're going to kill yourself in the process
4) Marvel at others' talent - because someone's always "better" than your firm
5) Re-frame your self-doubt & make it a monster to be slain
6) Surround yourself with supportive people and focus on your teams capabilities
7) Celebrate all that you create
8) Talk to someone you trust not just people that you pay to work for you
9) Find what puts you and your firm in the creative zone. If it's beer, drink more, if it's outings to customers, take more. Feed the fire and it grows warmer
10) Just go for it.
11) And here is Margarita Tartakovsky's article to give you a bit more flavor. 

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