Written by Luisa Gibbons
There are increasing demands for more ‘agile’ innovation, to achieve competitive advantage and remain relevant in the face of dynamic consumer needs.
Time can be stripped from the average research project through efficient ways of working, standardisation, automation and negotiation with suppliers etc. The more that can be automated, the more it frees-up the time of smart researchers and data teams to think, challenge, contextualise and work with clients to fully understand the implications of consumer research.
Streamlining each individual project, however, is only likely to shave days, at best weeks, off the innovation process. A more radical look at the whole journey, from idea conception through to launch needs to happen, to achieve the agility that so many companies are now clamouring for.
This doesn’t necessarily mean doing away with large quantitative validation studies which play an important role in determining commercial feasibility. But the consumer engagement adopted around such validation pieces, and how you view and judge success, can play a dramatic role in improving overall efficiency and increasing likelihood of achieving business goals.
Months (not just days or weeks), can be stripped from the innovation process and the associated costs of new product development by adopting the following principles:
Create not just evaluate
Use consumer input to shape a proposition and ensure you are innovating against a real, compelling consumer need. Working collaboratively with consumers can provide the guidelines for success.
Right first time
Avoid working in marketing and R&D silos, which can lead to a great concept and great product, but a disconnect between the two. The consumer voice can provide a common link towards a clearly defined, common goal.
Know what success looks like
Different strategic business aims will impact how a new product is launched and how it will be deemed as a success. Relying on consistent metrics to define potential is an oversimplification that does not reflect market reality!
It’s a different outlook and change won’t happen overnight. But we’re excited by the opportunities this presents!