We’re all looking for that breakthrough product, the one that will still be a step ahead in 3 years time – the holy grail of innovation. But how do we get there? How can we get consumers to visualise forward thinking innovations; to be able to see 3years into the future and help us find that elusive product? It seems like a pretty tall order, if not impossible.
The good news is we don’t think it’s impossible…but it’s definitely not easy. We have identified some tools that might make this seem like a more realistic challenge:
1. Market Audits
Market audits can be an extremely useful input for unlocking consumers’ minds and removing their perceived limitations. Looking at advanced products in other markets such as Japan, Scandinavia and the US can reveal existing products that push consumers’ boundaries and make what they had thought impossible real. It helps them to get their head around ideas that seem a bit crazy. For example, a high tech futuristic fridge that suggests recipes, makes grocery orders and rearranges food by its use by date. That’s mad. Most people would struggle to get their heads around it. But put it in terms of Hitachi’s eco fridge: it automatically alters the atmosphere to retain food’s freshness and nutrient value for longer, has a vacuum compartment, a touch control panel and is energy saving to name a few features. Suddenly the high tech fridge doesn’t seem such a stretch.
2. Using Prototypes
Using prototypes can also help consumers to broaden their minds. Whether it’s new formats, flavours or packs allowing consumers to experience it will help them see what can be. After all, seeing is believing. Think about Cheestrings. How unappealing would they sound if you described them to consumers? Strings of cheese? But show them to consumers and they can see the appeal of a fun healthy snack for their kids. If possible, give consumers something to see and hold in their hands. And try to help them visualise how this product or idea would work and where it would fit into their lives.
3. Deconstructing Ideas
Breaking down new ideas into their component parts can also make it easier for consumers to relate to a new idea. Using building blocks and just pushing boundaries in one area at a time rather than all at once can help consumers move step-by-step to what might be possible. Hitting consumers with it all at once can be too much and may lead to rejection. Stretching belief around one thing at a time can lead to much more wide ranging, open thinking.
A key challenge in getting to breakthrough innovations is taking consumers on the journey with you. The tools above will help and make the impossible seem real. This is how you open up a world of opportunity for your brand and get it on the road to creating that category leading innovation.