Tag Archive | business

Developing Innovative Ideas for New Companies: The First Step in Entrepreneurship

Innovation is all about making a difference in people life‘s, and it starts with an idea.

This idea needs to resonate with customer needs, create the appropriate market attraction, find the right value network to grow, justify its financial costs and last but not least have a potential return on the investment.

For that many aspects about innovative ideas need to be understood, starting with the person who take the idea from being an abstract idea to be a reality (AKA the entrepreneur) and what qualities he / she should have. What innovation means, and how it can create a real value for all of its stakeholders. What is the industry context we are going to work in and what are the market forces that we need to take for. How we are going to build a sustainable business model to support growing our dreams and business. Last but not least, how we are going to find a real market needs and get the appropriate customer understanding.

All these and more were the topics within this interesting course “Developing Innovative Ideas for New Companies” which was named #1  Entrepreneurship Course on Coursera by CourseTalk’s “Top Rated” MOOCs.

This blog post is an attempt to go through the course material in a moderate way and provide the key insights and knowledge that you can take with you within your entrepreneurial journey! So I hope you find it useful.

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Design Thinking For Business Innovation

Innovation has always be seen as a myth, where genius is the main ingredient for it. Unfortunately this is not the reality!

Innovation can be a systematic process. The key to successful innovations is to understand where the process starts. The process starts by first understanding the current needs, the current obstacles the target audience want to overcome and then formulating insights that can guide the thinking about potential solutions.

This is against to what most of us think and do today, where we try to provide solutions without understanding the real problems. So, probably by passion, we try to jump to a future that we envision for our customers without involving them or trying to understand what are there needs.

The argument can be raised that “Customers don’t know what they want” as Steve Jobs said or following what Henry Ford said “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses”. This can be partially true when it comes to what customers express literally, but the key takeaway from this is to see what customers don’t see by sensing, observing and noticing the signals than predict the future like “faster” (but not the horses) in Henry Ford quote.


Design Thinking: a means for innovation!

Design Thinking is a mindset and methodology to help businesses in problem solving, finding possibilities and securing innovations that are desirables by humans at first, viable as business offering second and finally feasible as an implementation.

In few words, Design Thinking is all about starting with the human and ending with the human. Design thinking is about the people but first you need to change your mindset for this shift.

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Besign Thinking: A simple framework for incorporating “Design Thinking” into the traditional “Business Thinking” for innovation!

Ever since I got introduced to the concept of Design Thinking, I had this feeling that this could be a game changer for how we do our business innovations. In a nutshell, because it starts with the customer as sole for finding innovations.

This may be obvious for anyone knowing about Design Thinking fundamentals, but it may be not fully true for people coming from a Business Thinking background, where the norm is how opportunities are projected to make money, not how it will solve a customer problem.

I will try in this blog post to bridge both worlds and suggest a framework for change when it comes to innovation. How can we introduce Design Thinking in a seamless manner in current today Business Thinking (at least in my company ^_^ ).

Lets start the story from the beginning …

ONCE UPON A TIME !

My company which works in the telecommunication field. As usual, its a very competitive environment and with saturation reaching very high levels. At that this point innovation has been identified as the secret weapon to solve this issue.

For that decision have been taken to create an innovation center in my company. The purpose of this innovation center is to pursue innovation opportunities that mainly brings Growth, Differentiation and slightly Efficiency to our enterprise.

It has been working for about two years, but what we figured out is that we have not yet made the IMPACT we were anticipating to do!

Why as an innovation center we did not make any impact?

To be honest, it’s all the fault of the Needle!

To understand this Needle, I will let you go through this short story that happened between me and the “Head of Innovation” one and half years ago…

BASED ON A TRUE STORY!

Once I had been assigned the task to find innovative opportunities that covers the domain of social media and advertising, for that I had like two days come up with ideas that are new to the market and would be valuable enough to our brand (financially, brand  value, social good, etc… or I thought so! )

Image

I took the diagram above and went to the Head, and here is what happened (I know you may say where is the Design Thinking here, but bear with me, please!)…

THE HEAD: This will not move the Needle!

Me            : Which Needle?

THE HEAD: We need something that generate 100 Million in five years time frame.

Me            : OK!!? But as I know, if we are looking for the social media domain for example it’s still too early to find results. We need to build a mass then figure out how to make money! Still Facebook and Twitter, they did not figure out how to make big bucks out of what they have..

THE HEAD: Not convinced, we are not here for causes, show me the money!

This story actually raised the question in my head, what is wrong?

What is wrong with the traditional business thinking approach for innovation?

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Service Design Breakfast #4: Work begins after the lunch by Janne Toivola, Futurice

In the 4th Service Design Breakfast talk on 31st of October, 2012 Janne Toivola from Futurice presented the concept of “Validated Design”. Janne is an experienced service designer and analyst having a focus on digital analysis and usability.

Figure 1: Validated design, Futurice

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