Most organizations limit their opportunities to innovate by focusing on ideas for new products or services. Typically the scope of “new products and services” quickly turns into ideas on improving existing products and services rather than coming up with breakthrough ideas that have the potential of changing the behavior of the market.
It takes lots of creativity and confidence in your ideas to believe the subsequent influence will change the behavior of the market. It also takes a vision of what is incomplete in terms of the customer’s experience that if complete would make a world of difference. To gain that vision takes a deep understanding of what is missing from the current situation that if provided would revolutionize the product, service, experience or combined touch points. The irony is most of the time the customer cannot tell you what is missing because they have never experienced that which is missing.
Innovation Is a State of Mind
If you haven’t noticed most innovation comes from people who think and create value from outside the norms. These are what the famous Apple ad calls “the crazy ones“. These are the entrepreneurs whose minds have not been melded by any particular corporate or industry experience and they simply pursue doing what others have not done or said could not be done. These are the outsiders whose state of mind isn’t clutter by frames of reference of experiences from the inside.
Some of the biggest success stories of the Digital Era have come from outsiders who have disrupted entire industries with innovative products, services or simply with innovative touch points. In terms of innovative products we all think of Apple, in terms of services we think of Google and Facebook to name a few. In terms of simply revolutionizing the customers touch point think of Zappo’s.
Often in the ideation process, ideas are focused exclusively on improving a specific service or product. However, limiting our thinking in this way is a fast-track to uninspired ideas, especially if you are seeking innovation from the inside out. Breakthrough ideas can come when you look beyond the product or service to rethink every touch point, or every element of the customers’ experience.
Innovation comes from the outside. Innovation is not an end state, but a state of mind. It is not a new product, nor any other kind of output. The state of mind represents a connected world that is in a constant learning mode fueled by never ending interactions with an ecosystem of new information. The problem most companies have with innovation is they limit their interactions with people and information from ecosystems that feed old mental and business models which limits outside perspectives. This makes it difficult to see a new world when you are viewing it through the lens of the old world.
Innovation can indeed come from a touch point. A touch point describes the real-time experience an organization has with stakeholders and the information that influences their behavior. So every organization must decide to either provide the innovation that influences stakeholders or be influenced by innovation created by others who have changed your markets behavior.