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Business Lessons Learned

At the Business Studio team, we continue to see accelerated need for transformational-change caused by digitalization, speed of business, industry 4.0, urbanization, climate change, gender equality, the platform economy, disrupting startups, the UN proclaimed SDG’s and many other mega-trends.

The pursuit of innovation

But before embarking on a new journey in hot pursuit of innovation, it is crucial to understand where you are now whilst building on your existing, unique capabilities. And then figure out where you want to go strategically and how. This is exactly why we created the Business Studio. It is the starting point of this innovational journey.

Innovative culture

An innovative culture and the right set of creativity techniques are essential. Enhance your team’s customer-centric mindset and skills in developing new products, services, and business concepts, as well as finding new markets for your innovative technology.

Understanding what problem you are solving and whom you are solving for is half the battle. Customer segmentation is too often driven by purely demographic considerations that do not take into account behavioral drivers.

Having a solid understanding of who your consumers are and what drives their behavior is key to developing solutions that are desirable from a customer perspective and that are financially viable.

Technology reviews and visionaries oversimplify the future, not taking into account complex cultural and behavioral patterns. This often results in undesirable and unrealistic future predictions.

Empathy

Encourage a culture of experimentation, where you learn as much as possible, as fast as possible. If there is one single thing we owe Design Thinking, it is the call for empathy. Put the end user at the very center of your innovation process, and you will design new solutions that customers will love.

To find solutions, businesses need to get very personal with their clients. That level of trust can be hard to achieve. Many brands do not even have a decent relationship with their customers to begin with, although they claim otherwise. A customer-centric innovation approach with a strong focus on empathy is a winning strategy.

Innovation

When companies look for innovations, they almost always start with ideation. The story goes like this. The more ideas you have, the better the innovation will be. Well, think again. After countless ideation sessions and working with the many companies, we can tell you that is not quite how it goes.

Coming up with new ideas is fairly easy. The hard part is turning those ideas into a commercially viable product or service, and growing that into a sustainable business. By Houdini: “An old trick well done is far better than a new trick with no effect”.

At the ideation stage, 80% of ideas come from analogical thinking or finding inspiration elsewhere. Companies first look at other industries, competitors, existing business models, new tech and trends. But what this lacks is inward vision, looking within the company itself.

New ideas fail for plenty of reasons. Some fail due to a lack of validation. The go-to-market timing is off, the business model does not work, the ecosystem does not deliver. But in an organizational setting – if you are lucky and an idea gets developed – it often gets stuck at floor level once it has been commercialized.

Mistakes and successes

A lack of oversight or management of the innovation portfolio is usually the root of the problem. An other reason is quite simply that ideation is fun, but the not-invented-here syndrome prevails.

It’s time to apply what you have already learned within your organization to decide whether or not to invest in a given idea in the future. Research shows that learning from past mistakes and successes is by far the most powerful lever for increasing revenue from new products and services.

Developing non-obvious customer-centric solutions

By starting with an in-depth understanding of the problems of customers, the challenge becomes developing non-obvious solutions that meet the specific needs of the target group.

Doing this effectively requires a flexible, hands-on approach of co-creating solutions with the customer and working in cross-functional teams that look beyond your own industry for inspiration…

Inspiring sources:

https://www.ideo.com/eu

https://www.boardofinnovation.com

https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/strategy-and-corporate-finance/our-insights/the-eight-essentials-of-innovation#