When the Time Comes to Innovate…Don’t Use EVALUATION Approaches for EXPLORATION Needs
Henry Ford once said, "If I had asked my customers what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse." His point was - if you want to create new ideas, you can’t solely rely on those conventional and predictable sources for inspiration and stimuli, such as your customers.
Unfortunately, when the time comes to innovate, many brands and companies have been so brainwashed by the ridiculous notion that "the target audience and core consumer know all," they forget all about Mr. Ford’s quote (and the lesson behind it) and they end up enlisting those (predictable) sources to not only evaluate new ideas, but to explore for them as well.
As you kick-off your innovation process, stop and remind yourself that exploration and evaluation are two completely separate innovation objectives that require different sources.
When you are EXPLORING for new ideas, go beyond your target audience and core customers and adopt an open innovation/co-creation model that enables the input of lots of diverse perspectives. In other words, tap into unexpected, unconventional and unorthodox individuals from well beyond your target customer base. Their input will open up a universe of creativity, new ideas and potential for your brand or project.
Once you’ve created the ideas, then go and enlist your target audience and core customers to help you EVALUATE them (if you really feel you need their “stamp of approval”).