I get it. It’s the 21st century and anything is possible, because after all…the internet. But just because you can do anything doesn’t mean you should do everything.
Before you ask "how", you have to know "what." The right opportunity balances the needs of the market, the strengths of the organization, and the almighty dollar to create a unique point of view that focuses efforts and points to the arenas that are both defensible and sustainable.
Whether looking to bring a new product to market, expand your customer base or launch a new business, I will help you identify customer-driven strategies for growth, and develop a plan for getting there.
Our client had recently embraced the concept of "well-being" and wanted to make it a central part of their corporate strategy, yet they were unsure of how to define it, let alone translate it to its customers and products.
Our team conducted in-depth review of the latest thinking related to "well-being" and developed a multi-tiered definition relating to work, life, family and friends. We then conducted a series of stakeholder interviews, culminating in a day-long workshop that identified a small set of customer segments where well-being driven concepts were likely to have an outsized effect on their health and care costs, and the internal capabilities and resources that could be leveraged.
With those inputs in hand, the team went into the field and spoke with each segment to understand what they needed from their insurer, and the greatest threats to their health and well-being. The team was able to quickly hone in on a particularly at-need segment, and identify several clear areas where seemingly small investments in improving well-being could dramatically reduce the overall cost of care.
Having identified the overlap between corporate strategy and customer needs, we were then able to document a clear definition of their well-being strategy, identify several high-value opportunities, and develop a set of recommendations for capabilities to develop and acquisitions to explore.
The majority of new offerings are a mad dash attempt to “see what sticks”, or simply blind adherence to what has worked in the past. And that works about as well as you might think.
Truly sustainable innovations begin with a clear point of view, and depend on the contextual understanding and user empathy that only firsthand experience can provide. They are the result of the hard work of abstract thinking, visualization, and continual refinement.
Whether developing a fully new business or fine-tuning an existing product, I provide a structured process to understand customer problems, imagine new possibilities, and develop strong concepts that will delight your customers and shareholders.
The Nutrient Rich Food Coalition was created to promote the benefits of eating foods rich in essential nutrients. They were seeking to develop a labeling system that would communicate the total nutrient package of a food or beverage, not just the nutrients to avoid.
American’s relationship with food is varied and complicated. To develop a better understanding, our team followed consumers as they shopped, watched them plan and prepare meals, and even sat in on family dinner time. What quickly became clear was that no single approach would account for the vast attitudes and preferences people have towards their food.
The team developed a set of food personas: the convenient, comfortable, confused and convinced eater. For each, we defined the barriers and opportunities they faced as they considered their diet and food purchases. A unique value proposition, brand, visual language and set of concepts was developed for each segment, and designed to address their individual needs.
Market sizing surveys were conducted and the nutrient label was tested with consumers in real-world situations. Two segments with the greatest potential for positive improvement were identified, and a design direction that would satisfy both was developed.
Yet most large organizations seem all to eager to outsource this critical function, or give up all controls and decades of management understanding in an all out push to “fail fast.” Blech.
Innovative organizations begin with a culture of empathy and collaboration, and leverage systems and processes that reward agility and risk-taking while maintaining accountability. Needless to say, most organizations are not hard wired this way. But it is teachable and the practices may not be as different as you think.
I help organizations build the culture to imagine what's possible, design the system to effectively resist corporate anti-bodies, and develop the capabilities required to repeatedly launch new products and ventures.
Our client had a rich history of building technological innovations into billion dollar businesses, yet had lost the ability to incubate smaller, market-led businesses. They were looking for an unifying strategy and operating model to bring together their various incubation activities.
We started with an internal audit of the various innovation activities that were happening around the world; including licensing, corporate venture capital investments and internal incubations. The team developed an overarching strategy that aligned all of the efforts under a set of innovation themes, and defined when and where a particular innovation vehicle would be used.
We then set about developing the operating model that would allow the CEO to maintain control and accountability, while also allowing teams to confidently invest their time in resources in projects that were outside of the core business. A new set of processes, metrics, reporting, incentives and team structures specifically designed to support incubation activities was developed.
Significant workshopping and training were necessary to ensure that all employees understood the new culture, and a change management plan designed to educate other business units about the nature of the new organization was required. Finally, strict governance processes were put in place to keep leadership informed while also allowing the organization to move quickly.
I'm always open to interesting projects and stupid questions.