Innovating with the ecosystem in mind

credit: dupress.deloitte.com

credit: dupress.deloitte.com

In our previous posts, we’ve asserted that the reason so many “innovative” new products and services fail is because the innovators fail to understand the circumstances, ecosystems and environments in which the new product must exist.  Even more important to consumers than new features is ease of use, ease of integration, ease of connection.  We call this a holistic, continuous seamless experience.

If seamless experience, as we’ve defined it in previous posts, is the emerging requirement for innovators, then what are the components that construct a seamless experience?  And further, if seamless experiences are so vital, what are the forces that converge to create so much interest in seamless experiences?

If we consider and answer these questions, innovators can see a growing confluence of ecosystems, platforms and patterns of disruption that are combining to create new opportunities.  We can also take a look back at past innovation efforts to see how little we’ve moved the needle in terms of customer engagement and the value that past innovations have created.

With so much in motion, it’s time for a careful consideration of what fuels innovation, what patterns exist and what factors – such as ecosystems and platforms – will combine to create what customers really want:  a continuous, holistic and complete experience. Continue reading

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The new innovation pursuit- extending the connected difference

customer-experience

visual credit: http://www.janrain.com

We need to discover the new innovation pursuit; connecting, coherent and collaborative for customers to be provided seamless experiences

The pursuit of the ‘holy grail’ of business – is offering coherent, connected customer-facing solutions – will increasingly only be achieved through a combination effect of broader collaboration, working in ecosystems arrangements and coordinated through a platform design.

It is through this ‘combination effect’ there is further potential to deliver innovation that solves existing need or uncovers unmet ones that advance on the existing solutions in unexpected ways. Ones that can improve productivity, efficiency, and effectiveness, taking the complexity out of our existing lives, giving us new experiences we connect into and highly value for what they provide and solve. (think Apple, Social Networks, Amazon, Uber or AirBnB)

The whole combination of crowds, customers, collaborators, competition, and co-creators can define and reshape complete offerings that are often unthinkable when you are operating in individual ways, so the potential to achieve a different scale, access, and engagement can be made. In our view

Innovation ecosystems can radically alter the value proposition. Continue reading

Innovating the Minimum Viable Experience

minimum-viable-pathway-for-experienceThroughout our blog posts about innovation, ecosystems and platforms, we’ve maintained one core theme:  incremental, discrete product innovation will not create significant new revenues or disrupt markets.

The reasons, as we’ve discussed, include the growing expectation of seamless experiences from the consumers’ viewpoint and the rising importance of platforms and ecosystems in which new products or services exist.

Minimum Viable Footprint

Today I’d like to highlight a new idea – innovating for the “Minimum Viable Footprint”, an idea that was first proposed in Ron Adner’s book entitled The Wide Lens.  Adner defines the “Minimum Viable Footprint” or MVF as “the smallest configuration of elements that can be brought together and still create unique commercial value“.  The MVF is the logical outcome of two realities:  first, the already discussed idea that innovators need to innovate more than just a product, but must consider the ecosystem in which the product will reside, and second, the concept of a minimum viable product – something many companies already understand and practice.  Continue reading

Why you need an experience manager for innovation

customer-experience-journeyThrough our discussions about innovation, ecosystems and seamless experiences we’ve highlighted the fact that 1) innovation doesn’t work that well for many companies because we believe that 2) these companies create discrete products rather than fully understanding the ecosystem the products enter and 3) they don’t understand that customers are seeking seamless experiences more than ever.

If these points make sense to you, the question becomes, how do we create seamless customer experiences?  What makes up the solution?  How do ideas like the Geoffrey Moore inspired “whole product” combine with tools like customer experience journeys and design thinking to help an innovator understand the potential seamless solution?  And, how does an innovator decide what components in the ecosystem or solution they should create, and which to partner for or rely on external partners for?

I’d like to begin this post by arguing that this issue stems from another fallacy – the fallacy of being “customer centric”.  Continue reading

Widen the aperture, narrow the focus

widen-the-aperture-narrow-the-focus-real-value

Today, customers are busier, smarter, have shorter attention spans and most importantly have less desire to make products or services work together.

Apple,  Amazon, and EBay are examples that  have taught customers that products, services, data, experiences, and design can all work together to provide a totally seamless experience.

Increasingly, this is what customers are increasingly wanting, and to do that you’ll need to rethink the way you innovate.

In Jeffrey Phillips post “Using ecosystems to build seamless experiences” we raised this present poor understanding within a business, that many lack a good understanding of customer needs.  Actually, it is far worse than we initially felt, still more on that later.

This is a longish read but an important one, to frame our need to think through innovation differently, through a new lens. Take your time, knowing why we need to change is critical. There is a new innovation era that holds promise if we think differently. Continue reading

Using ecosystems to build seamless experiences

source: uxmag.com

visual source: uxmag.com not text

In the first post of this series, Paul Hobcraft framed what we believe is an exceptionally important issue:  innovation doesn’t really work the way we’d like it to.  Far too often, innovation creates incremental, discrete products that don’t seem to drive customer engagement, don’t create disruption in the marketplace and don’t drive a significant amount of revenue or profit.

There are many reasons we could point to – poor understanding of customer needs, risk and uncertainty constraining innovation teams, lack of innovation process and training on the part of the innovation teams, little to no funding, and so on.  These are common challenges that innovation teams face.

However, we believe that many innovation challenges stem not from a lack of internal knowledge or capability, but from misunderstanding the customer and his or her expectations about experiences.  Customers today expect seamless experiences, supported, maintained and enabled by complex ecosystems of products, services, business models, channels, information, and complementary products and services.  Customers aren’t interested or willing to acquire disparate products and services and integrate them. Increasingly customers prefer to acquire seamless experiences, and this expectation will dramatically change how companies innovate.

The problem of narrow focus Continue reading

Innovation is simply not working anymore.

connecting-ecosystem-1We seem to be facing a major crossing-over point in innovation. We can either switch tracks and allow innovation to go on the slower line that continues to stop at all stations, picking up and dropping off, steadily working towards its final goal of “incremental delivery” or, we can decide to keep innovation on the fast track, picking up momentum because we need to treat innovation as ‘core’, essential and needed, to be delivering the growth engine our organizations are requiring today.

Let’s face it, innovation isn’t working successfully for many companies for a variety of reasons.  We are faced today with a changing market. The customer is demanding and their expectations are changing, industry lines are blurring, there are disruptive forces constantly at work 24×7 and even the constant steady drip of new business models are simply not working as well as they should be, so as to gain that elusive growth.

Some speak of VUCA used is an acronym to describe or reflect the volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity of general conditions and situations we all seem to have become caught up in.

Yet these are all symptoms of a larger problem that innovation is simply not addressing and this is why this growing dissatisfaction on the delivery of innovation solutions is occurring. We are not recognizing the changes occurring but more importantly the opportunities that can be grasped by thinking in different ways. We have many of the solutions right in front of us if we care to look, to understand them and make all the necessary connections and ready ourselves for a change. Continue reading