David Kwon shared this amazing infographic detailing the history of the wheel. It's a nice follow-on post to mine: The Wheel: A Great Innovation? There are a lot of myths and misperceptions about the wheel and it's impact on society. Read more here:
As an innovation leader, you are now responsible for a bundle of resources that you’ll need to get the job done. Those resources include human resources - your team - and also include financial resources in the form of a budget.
But a good leader thinks about resources beyond just human and financial. You may have tangible resources like physical products and distribution outlets. You may have intangible resources like brand reputations. And you have resources in the form of relationships. You have internal relationships like with your peers, and you have plenty of external relationships, with your customers, your suppliers, and your marketing services firms.
So, start your new role by taking a careful inventory of your resources and commit to being a responsible steward of them. Ask yourself, what exactly do I have on hand? What condition are they in? Do I have the right resources and enough to accomplish my goals?
Now, you may not be able to answer those questions right away, but you have to keep them in mind now so you don’t lose sight of them later. Let’s explore some issues you may face when managing your marketing resources.
In terms of human resources, you need to build a competent team. So keep these guiding principles in mind. Ask yourself, who are my A players, who are my B players that can developed into A players, and who are my C players that need to be moved off the team...as soon as possible? You’ll want to work closely with your HR partner, beginning Day One.
Now look at financial resources. You probably got some direction from your boss, but now it’s time to dig a little deeper. Meet with your financial partners and learn as much as you can about your budget. What is the process to set the budget? What is the process to spend it? How is it allocated? What have been the trends in spending? What areas of spending are getting the most bang for the buck?
Now, take a close look at your products and services. How are old are they, and when were they last updated? How do they perform, feature by feature, versus the competition? What needs to be improved? And, which ones may need to be retired to free up resources for new opportunities?
How do you sell your products and services? Examine your channels of distribution. What assets are there like warehouses and distribution centers? What channel partners do you have, and what role do they play? Most importantly, what information about your customers is being collected and who has it? How is that information being used?
Finally, what is your brand equity? Are customers loyal? What is your rate of retention? How satisfied are your customers?
This resource - your base of customers - may be your most important. You need to understand what gives you the right to win in the marketplace. THAT is your golden egg as we call it, and you want to take very good care of it.
We all know the endless kick-on, kick-off routine associated with that perfectly comfortable pair of house slippers. Our days are filled with quick trips to the market, impromptu lunches, and endless dog walks. And one of two scenarios are typically woven into the daily in-and-out saga of life -- either countless episodes of shoe swapping or foregoing those fabulous house shoes to spare extra minutes.
Mahabis, a shoe company based out of London, set their innovation sites on resolving this daily dilemma by creating the Mahabis slipper. Utilizing the Division Technique, Mahabis created an indoor-outdoor wool slipper made possible by a detachable sole. According to Mahabis, these soles “flick-on and clip-down in seconds.” By offering convenience, Mahabis hasn’t overlooked quality as they aimed to make a sole that is light and comfortable and provides adequate heel support, grip, and relaxed comfort.
The Mahabis slipper is just one example of the Division technique at work. To get the most out of the Division technique, you follow five basic steps:
List the product’s or service’s internal components.
Divide the product or service in one of three ways:
Functional (take a component and rearrange its location or when it appears).
Physical (cut the product or one of its components along any physical line and rearrange it).
Preserving (divide the product or service into smaller pieces, where each piece still possesses all the characteristics of the whole).
Visualize the new (or changed) product or service.
What are the potential benefits, markets, and values? Who would want this, and why would they find it valuable? If you are trying to solve a specific problem, how can it help address that particular challenge?
If you decide you have a new product or service that is indeed valuable, then ask: Is it feasible? Can you actually create this new product or perform this new service? Why or why not? Can you refine or adapt the idea to make it more viable?
Keep in mind that you don’t have to use all three forms of Division, but you boost your chance of scoring a breakthrough idea if you do.
For thousands of years, inventors have embedded five simple patterns into their inventions, usually without knowing it. These patterns are the "DNA" of products that can be extracted and applied to any product or service to create new-to-the-world innovations. Drew Boyd shares how to use this effective, repeatable, and trainable innovation process for organic growth.
"Innovation Sighting" is a monthly feature that demonstrates the use of structured innovation methods. A great way to develop one's skill at innovation is to be able to recognize the use of templates in everyday products and services.
"Marketing Innovation" is a monthly feature that demonstrates innovation templates for advertising, promotion, and integrated marketing communication. It is based on the pioneering work by Professor Jacob Goldenberg and his colleagues in "cracking the advertising code."
"Academic Focus" is a monthly feature that highlights an institution or professor who is doing an outstanding job bringing the tools and skills of innovation to the practitioner community.
The LAB is a regular feature that demonstrates how to use innovation methods and tools. Blog readers are invited to pose a question or submit a product or service for The LAB . Drew will then show how to apply a systematic process to the product or service and create real, new-to-the-world concepts.