How to align innovations in the market

Saskia Burns11/20/2019

Who hasn’t seen this happen? A product comes out that’s so technically complex that it burns right through the biggest budgets. So the market rejects it. An entrepreneur starts with a good idea... that, unfortunately, no one was waiting for. In an in-house competition of ideas, the entries are judged by Management but not by any potential buyers. The companies end up with countless innovations and not the faintest notion of what their target groups are.

Why is that?

When we think about innovations, we tend to project our own perspective on the public in general. Basically, we figure that if we like something, then the rest of the world must need it, too. But how do you come up with innovative ideas that cater to the market?

  1. Start by considering a current market need and hold off on providing a solution.
  2. Now, think about who your target groups are.
  3. Figure out what hurdles and obstacles each target group has to overcome in order to meet their need and what you’d like to know from each target group.
  4. Write up a questionnaire for your potential users. What would you like to learn from them? What assumptions are there to confirm or refute?
  5. Interview as many potential customers as possible. Don’t just ask “What would you like?” Instead, refer to specific situations and ask “How did you deal with that?” In other words, focus on the behavior of your potential customers.
  6. Aggregate the findings from the interviews. Imagine a typical user with four or five insights you’ve gained about them. This imaginary user is called the “persona.” Now think about how you can help this potential user meet their needs.
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Only after all these steps are completed should you move on to brainstorming solutions and searching for the right innovation. Start with a prototype of your product or service, and test it on potential customers. Use the feedback in order to optimize your product. Keep tweaking your product until your customer is happy.

This method lets you make sure early on that your innovation actually offers your customer an added value. In the long run, this approach is more cost-effective, because it keeps you from making expensive mistakes. This iteration allows you to exclude certain prototypes in advance instead of having to modify or even completely scrap them later on. That’s how you come up with innovations that the market actually needs.

So don’t think about what innovations you could develop based on your knowledge and expertise. Focus on what’s actually needed on the market.

Do you wish a business that’s more digital and more innovative? Attend our free webinar – Digital Transformation – Potential and Innovation in German language. We’ll tell you the best way to go about it and what aspects you’ll want to pay special attention to. Click here to sign up now. Don't wait – space is limited.

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Saskia Burns
Director Business Consulting | COSMO CONSULT