A Typical Day At The (BigHeads) Office
A cosmetics company tells us they’re looking to find NEW ways to make the “color choosing experience” at mass retailers easier for their core women consumers (fyi…in case you don’t know, it’s very difficult to get the color right when purchasing cosmetics at retailers due to a host of factors such as lighting, etc.).
Of course, since the core consumer is women…someone inevitably asks, “How many women do you have in the BigHeads Network?”
Now, instead of being rude and telling them that they’ve “completely missed the point of what we do”…we put up a photo of Henry Ford along with his quote, “If I had asked my customers what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse.” This allows us to simply (and politely) drive home the point that you need to GO BEYOND the typical and predictable sources when you want to innovate…and reminds them that the reason you bring us in is to find inspiration in UNEXPECTED PLACES.
We then go through the ins-and-outs of our open innovation approach (our Brand Opening)…and how we access individuals across all DIFFERENT disciplines, backgrounds, talents and interests (the “BigHeads”) to ultimately find the unique inspiration and expose the unexpected connections NEEDED to generate new inspiration and ideas.
It’s now time to begin the PROBING process…but we first need to take a BIG STEP BACK and view the objective in its simplest form. This crucial step allows us to convey the objective to our diverse BigHeads in a way that will interest them (versus using industry jargon that they won’t understand or care about). Ultimately, we determine the project is actually all about MAKING THE RIGHT COLOR CHOICES.
Now comes the fun part — we begin crafting the questions to ask the BigHeads that will allow us to most effectively EXPLORE their DIVERSE experiences, interests, creativity, talents, industries, etc. to get stimuli around the objective.
- We ask about times they’ve bought something (anything) they were POSITIVE was the right color…but it turned out to be WRONG. We ask what happened…how they fixed it..etc. and end up with LOADS of inspiration.
- We ask if they had all the money in the world how would they have avoided it (the ol’ “what would Bill Gates do?” question). This allows us to take “pie in the sky” thoughts and ideas and ultimately apply them to the objective at hand.
- We ask who they would include on their “color choosing” Dream Team. This will provide us with a list of “experts” in the world of color who we may never have considered (from tattoo artists…to lighting experts…to mixologists…etc.).
- We ask about their best experiences choosing color. Hey, you never know, maybe we can borrow (okay, steal) some of those approaches.
When all is said-and-done…we have a CATALOG of interesting and unique stories, experiences, ideas and thoughts around the topic of “choosing color” and we rifle through all of it for inspiration and ideas.
We hear PERSONAL color choosing NIGHTMARES and we are inspired by the way they SOLVED the issue.
We learn about OTHER COMPANIES/INDUSTRIES that face the same problems (i.e., paint companies) and how they solve for it (light boxes at retailers, etc.). Hmmm…maybe we can apply some of their approaches to cosmetics and the objective.
We hear about people who know how to BLEND color (which is crucial for foundation cosmetics products that must blend perfectly with skin tones). Our Navy Seal BigHead talks about the camouflage process. Can we learn from him? Our marine biologist BigHead tells us about the blending ability of cuttlefish. Can we learn from that? (Don’t forget…an architect once was inspired by TERMITES to build an energy efficient building with no air conditioning system in Zimbabwe, so don’t discount the ability to use things that happen in nature as inspiration). Hmmm….
We even hear from a car restoration BigHead who tells us about a device they use in his industry to perfectly match paint to the original color of the car being restored. Hmmmm…maybe we could apply that technology to camera phones so women can take a photo of their skin and get the recommended color.
Ultimately…we deliver a report that is a CATALOG (really) of inspiration, unexpected resources and potential ideas (from products…to displays…to packaging…etc.).
The fun doesn’t stop there. Next up — we identify the top areas/ideas to explore further…then we host workshops with some of the “outside experts” to discuss the realities of applying what they do to cosmetics (the marine biologist…the car restoration guru…etc.)…and then the internal R&D team at the company jump on our collaboration platform to rate, refine and prep the top ideas.
Down the road, we run into that person who had initially asked us, “How many WOMEN were in the network?” Of course, we all laugh about how ridiculous the question was…because NOW we all understand that you NEED to tap a diverse team to uncover those truly break-through ideas and solutions.