Our new headoffice is slowing coming together with containers of furniture waiting to be unloaded. It will take another 2 months before it is picture ready. It is looking like a boutique hotel as I've heard. We've got lots of projects rooms, big windows, big spaces for development teams and lots and lots of open space for parties. But no one has time for it.

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People talk about innovation some refer to strategy, organization, process, culture and many just think of toolkits and tactics. Innovation strategy is more important today than it was 10 years ago; rapid market changes and the need for growth requires a clear articulation of answers to the following three questions:

  • Is innovation part of our core business strategy or something we want to keep on the side to explore new opportunities?
  • Where (product scope and geographic scope) do we focus in terms of innovation efforts? What types of innovation do we need?
  • Product innovation; service innovation or business model innovation?

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Innovation does not happen with Power Point or Excel. They are decision support and communication tools. Innovation requires not only the right strategy, environment but also the right tools. Choosing the right tool can be as complicated as the problem it needs to solve. Executives must select the tools that will lead to breakthrough ideas, which can be brought to market effectively and ultimately create a sustainable competitive advantage.

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Last year we conducted a global survey amongst executives of our Fortune 500 client base to determine their levels of awareness, understanding and usage of the tools used in the innovation process. We have broken this list of 15 tools into 3 categories and will share here some of the results as a two part series:

  • Top 5 most popular
  • Top 5 most effective
  • Top 5 most misunderstood

Here are some of the results:

THE TOP 5 MOST POPULAR TOOLS

  1. CONTEXTUAL INQUIRY
  2. ETHNOGRAPHIC SHADOWING
  3. IMMERSION DAYS
  4. RAPID PROTOTYPING
  5. CONSUMER JOURNEY MAPPING

THE TOP 5 MOST EFFECTIVE TOOLS

  1. ETHNOGRAPHIC SHADOWING
  2. PERFORMANCE AND PERCEPTION MAPPING
  3. RAPID PROTOTYPING
  4. CONSUMER JOURNEY MAPPING
  5. VALUE CURVE MAPPING

THE TOP 5 LEAST UNDERSTOOD TOOLS

  1. WEAK SIGNAL SCANNING
  2. CONSUMER CO-CREATION
  3. SENSEMAKING
  4. FORESIGHT
  5. CREATIVE COLLISIONS

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THE TOP 5 MOST POPULAR TOOLS and why are these Top Five the Most Popular?

  • Many people have heard of them before.
  • Have been popularized through books, articles and business gurus.
  • Easy to access, and easy to use.
  • Can be easily integrated into existing workflows
  • Easy to migrate over from adjacent disciplines

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CONTEXTUAL INQUIRY:
Contextual Inquiry is an ethnographic research method that reveals how people think about, talk about and perform activities in the context of their daily lives and actual environments. It is used to observe existing consumer/user habits, and to gather feedback on prototypes, and in the process gain a deeper understanding of consumer motivations, attitudes, preferences, needs and ideas. Contextual Inquiry helps research and design teams understand how to better execute on the less tactical and more social, cultural or contextual elements of a concept.

When to use it: Should be used in conjunction with Rapid Prototyping phase Why use it: To gain reliable information that is relevant to the End User. To access tacit knowledge and uncover insights into user behaviours that were previously unarticulated. To gather detailed feedback on successive prototypes, and to use that input to refine designs.

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ETHNOGRAPHIC SHADOWING
is a research technique used to understand a person or group of persons behaviors and interactions related to product use, service interactions, and the processes involved in achieving tasks. Shadowing is a real-time exercise that focuses on particular events and tasks people engage in as they take place. The nature of shifting contexts and use scenarios, make Shadowing a valuable technique for uncovering unmet, and unarticulated needs, as they unfold over time. So as to achieve authentic, and honest insights into end user behaviors, Ethnographic Shadowing sometimes requires that the research subjects be unaware of the actual Shadowing.

When to use it: Insights & Inspiration phase, at the beginning of the innovation process. Ethnographic Shadowing also helps inform the journey mapping process. 

Why use it: Ethnographic Shadowing is key to understanding and cultivating the consumer empathy that should guide each and every stage of the innovation process. Where surveys find data, focus groups reveal opinions and traditional market research creates speculation, Ethnographic Shadowing fuels innovation by identifying the unmet, unknown and unarticulated needs of consumers. 

TO BE CONTINUED ......

Original Post: http://mootee.typepad.com/innovation_playground/2012/10/people-talk-about-innovation-some-refer-to-strategy-organization-process-culture-and-many-just-think-of-toolkits-and-tacti.html