The most outstanding companies today, like Amazon, Google, Volkswagen, Ikea and Apple, keep their spot on the top by constantly innovating. Coming up with new products is necessary for staying relevant on the market, but it’s no easy task. Here are some key tips for overcoming the common obstacles and powerful ways to speed up the process.
How to cure an idea-block
One of the biggest reasons why companies are struggling in creating new products is the lack of creative ideas. As the demand for innovation is constantly going up, only those that rise to the challenge can hope to survive on the market. Unfortunately, most companies still don’t know how to stimulate the idea flow in the organization and would give anything to know the secret cure for an idea-block.
One of the best ways to combat this state is to include Design Thinking in your product development activities. This powerful methodology works by accelerating the ideation process and improving the creative flow in the company. The core principles of Design Thinking are empathy and co-creation, through which a team can generate innovative ideas that have big market potential.
Raising the odds of a successful launch
The second reason why companies face challenges in new product development is failing to launch. The steps between coming up with an idea and bringing it to the market are slow and can be challenging. Companies sometimes give up halfway because of unanticipated issues and unplanned costs.
While there is no way to avoid all future hiccups, there is a way to improve your odds of success. The Design Thinking methodology includes prototyping and testing, and after seeing the results, advises to return to the drawing board. This loop should be repeated many times, because in this way problems are foreseen, discussed and resolved before the stakes are raised and resources are allocated, thus saving the company valuable time and resources.
Focus on the consumer, not on the competitor
As mentioned above, Design Thinking focuses on empathy and co-creation. Co-creation is achieved through teamwork, while empathy is achieved by gaining a deep understanding of the customer and his needs. Often, companies spent too much effort on analysing the competitors and not enough on the buyers. Their approach can only lead to one thing: becoming a follower, the opposite of a market leader, always one step behind.
The Design Thinking process starts with activities that develop empathy for the customers. This framing is important because it enables the developers to focus on the customer, putting themselves in his shoes and looking at the situation from his perspective. The activities encompass everything from research to customer journey mapping, all with the goal to give the developers the ability to think, see and feel like the consumer. This approach guides to a lot of innovative ideas that solve the customer’s unique problems and appeal to his specific needs and wants.
How to put Design Thinking in practice
The Design Thinking process boosts cooperation, creativity and innovation. The 5 phase process starts with empathising and ideating, then focuses on creating a prototype and testing, and finally, iterating the results and repeating the process from the beginning with the newly found insights. In order to put the process in practice, companies need to make an effort to organise the employees in multidisciplinary teams and create an environment where ideas thrive.
This restructuring of the company can appear like a lot of work, but there is a way to introduce this way of working with less effort and immediately see the results. There is an easy way to implement, a week-long activity that allows both the employees and executives to experience first hand the effect of working with Design Thinking.
The activity is called Design Sprint, a 5-day long project for a team of employees, that works as an idea generator. They get a whole day for each of the Design Thinking steps and the task to come up with an innovation or resolve a problem. Some of the results you should expect are one or a few innovative ideas, motivated employees who want to bring their ideas to life, a stronger sense of mutual responsibility and an all-around great team spirit.
Develop new products, faster
There are many reasons why companies struggle to develop new products and the Design Thinking methodology resolves many, if not all of them. By implementing it in your Business Development Strategy you can expect more innovative solutions in less time and with fewer challenges.
If you try a Design Sprint activity in your company, or any of our other suggestions, let us know what were the results. How did the employees feel during and after the activity? What were the tangible outcomes of the Design Sprint? Would you consider implementing the Design Thinking methodology in your daily operations? Let us know @SolveoCo