Why is different from other questions. It isn't enough to provide only one Why to motivate people to act. You need to consider all the reasons for all of their possible actions and inaction.
+ reasons to do the action
- reason to not do the action
≠ reasons to do a different action
= reason to not change
→ reasons to act after some change or reasons to stop acting
~ reasons to fluctuate, fluctuating conditions. Reasons to act again. Reasons to inconsistently do the action.
The core of innovation is satisfying desires. Desires are imprecise, subjective, personal, and frequently change. That makes desires unsuitable to directly use for innovation.
What a person wants changes based on the situation. Time, place, and activity all change the situation. Different people value different things in similar situations. Their desires can be satisfied differently from someone else's desires.
The subjective nature of desires makes it difficult for even customers to express their desires. Not being able to accurately express desires makes it hard for customers to ask for what they want or to explain why a product or service didn't satisfy their desires.
To solve the problem of subjective desires, we convert subjective desires into objective Outcomes. “Customers buy products and services to help them get jobs done.” (Ulwick, 2005, p.xvii) Put in the context of performing the job, the subjective desires can be expressed as objective Outcomes. Using the product produces an Outcome. When all the required Outcomes have a desired State, the job is done and the desire is satisfied.
Desires are always in the context of doing some “job”. We call that context the Scenario. The required Outcomes for a Scenario always remain the same. Customers can satisfy their desires in very different ways. They can choose different Scenarios to satisfy their desires, however, the Outcomes for each Scenario always remain the same. Some people relax from exercising while others find reading a book relaxing. The fact that a person chooses exercising or reading a book to relax does not change the basic requirements of those two very different activities.
Instead of trying to satisfy subjective desires, we allow the users to choose tasks that satisfy their desires and we satisfy the objective requirements of the task. Desires can be broken down into one or more objective Outcomes by describing the Scenario and each criteria needed to satisfy the desires of that Scenario. Illustration 43: Objective Criteria is a flowchart of how to describe a Scenario and Objective Criteria.
An example of a Scenario is eating sticky peanut butter:
This describes a specific situation, “eating peanut butter.” It also gives a general description of the goal, “not sticking to the roof of my mouth.” Now lets write an Objective Outcome for that goal:
This is an observable and measurable criteria. The number of times the person licks can be observed and you can measure it by counting the number of licks. The objective criteria both allows you to measure the level of satisfaction and it describes exactly what needs to be done to satisfy the desire.
The criteria has three parts.
One way to make peanut butter less sticky is to make it thin like a liquid. Runny peanut butter is not desirable so we should add another criteria.
If I lick the roof of my mouth less than 3 licks and
the peanut butter is more than as firm as jelly I will be satisfied.
This second criteria has a less scientific unit but it is something that can be measured. The customer might not be able to give exact units but the description is accurate enough for innovators to make a comparison or possibly calculate an actual measurement to use. In this case some measurement of viscosity is likely appropriate but all you need is a consistent criteria that can be observed and reliably communicated.
The stickiness of peanut butter is one aspect of eating peanut butter. The flavor, smell, and visual appearance are other factors that may need to be considered.
The criteria has two parts. The first part broadly but objectively describes the desire, “I don't like peanut butter sticking to the roof of my mouth.” The second part is the specific criterion for satisfying the desire. For problem solving you need the specific criterion; however, for innovation work you will mainly use the descriptive portion. This involves restating it in a more generalized form such as:
When stated this way it is called an Outcome. Outcomes are composed of 7 Elements: Object, Begin States, End States, Actions, Tools, Conditions, and Resources. The Object is the feature that possesses a State that we are trying to optimize. In this example the Object is “texture.” The number of licks and the viscosity are States.
Since innovation must satisfy unmet desires it's aiming at a continually moving target. The unmet desires of today will be the bare minimum requirements of tomorrow. Innovation must stay ahead of the desires so you have the time to design, develop, and deliver the innovation at the right moment.
The way to stay ahead is to focus on the criteria several steps ahead of the currently available products. You can do this by imagining the ideal product then looking backwards at each step needed to reach that ideal product from the current product.
Every Outcome has an ideal perfect criteria. As innovation occurs, each of the Outcomes moves closer to the Ideal State. The criterion needed for each successive innovation will be closer to that ideal until all the Outcomes achieve the theoretical maximum achievable state. This is why we don't specify the specific criterion for Outcomes when doing innovation. We are always trying to improve on the current level until we reach the ideal.
Each innovation improves one or more Outcomes enough to satisfy the emerging expectations. It is important to not try to offer products that are ahead of the market. Design products 2 steps ahead, develop products 1 step ahead, and deliver just-in-time. Products that are too far ahead will often require extra marketing expense to promote or won't have sufficiently advanced technology or infrastructure to affordably deliver the product.
To improve an Outcome an innovation must do one of the 3 things: maximize the State, minimize the State, or match a specific State. You will notice those are three of the five directions from the Alternatives Grid, Direct +, Indirect -, and Stable =.
You can improve an Outcome by increasing, decreasing, or equaling the desired result. For example, if the goal is to heat something, an innovation might be to decrease the time it takes to heat it. That would be minimizing the time.
Another way of improving an Outcome is to minimize, maximize, or match the range differences for the State. Instead of looking at a single State, a range of States might be desirable. When you select clothing you typically aren't maximizing or minimizing a look. You want clothing that can fit with a wide range of looks and work with other clothing you own. You want to maximize the range of your wardrobe.
Precision components must control size and position to fit together. However, it is not necessary to have the exact size and position as long as all the components are close to the same. The goal is to minimize the range of sizes and positions for all the components.
In the game of baseball the desired State is for the batter to hit the ball away from where players on the other team can catch it. This is a type of matching range. The criteria will use the words “not equals.”
Outcomes are not an exact science. It takes significant practice to become proficient at writing Outcomes.
To quickly gain expertise in writing Outcomes attend a Predictive Innovation® workshop. The Predictive Innovation® website has a list of self-paced, instructor led online, and in-person training options to help you gain expertise.
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Your competition is global, constantly improving, and can always undercut your price. You must innovate to survive.
Cheap foreign labor is not your biggest threat. Automation and user collaboration are dropping prices below cheap all the way to free. Can you compete with free?
If you use old methods you will fail. Even if you copy their methods you will never catch up. The only way to get ahead and stay ahead is to think and act predictively.
Thomas Edison's trial and error approach died 100 years ago with the horse drawn wagon. Fail-fast, fail often only leads to failure. You have limited time and budget but infinite competition. You need to know what customers will want before they start demanding it. You also need to know the most profitable way to deliver it before you start. Plus, you need to see future challenges and have solutions ready when challenges pop up.
Return on investment is the point of innovation. Regardless of how creative or fashionable a product is, if everyone involved doesn't receive a significant benefit it will fail. That means investors, workers, and customers all must receive enough benefit to get them to be happy with their investment of time and money.
Maximize profits and minimize investment. That means providing the most benefit to the most people while using the least time and materials to do it. You need to know both what to make and how to make it. You also must see the entire market so you don't miss valuable opportunities. Random approaches can't guarantee you collect all the value in the most efficient order. Only a structured system like Predictive Innovation can minimize investment, reduce risk, and maximize reward.
Staged Gate has 40% Failure Rate at Launch
The most common approach to innovation is:
That process is called Staged Gate. It's used by companies worldwide. Despite over 50 years of improvement, 40% of products launched, fail. Nearly random!
The average Staged Gate process requires 300 ideas to get 1 success. (Stevens & Burley 1997) All of that filtering costs a lot of time and money. It costs 9 times more than just launching a single project. That extra expense means that only ideas expected to have huge profits are even considered. The smaller less risky projects are ignored because they won't make up for all of that time and money wasted on filtering.
It also means you need a huge up front investment to start. For small companies that just isn't possible. The smaller company can't risk the failure of trying to innovate so it is guaranteed the failure of competition.
Before you blame Staged Gate, that 40% rate doesn't happen to everyone who uses it.
Study at Fortune 500 Companies shows Predictive Innovation approach 95 Times More Profitable
A study of 576 projects at 360 Fortune 500 companies revealed a dramatic difference in results. (Stevens & Burley 2003) 2
All of the projects use similar Staged Gate processes but the Top 1/3 had a 96% success rate and were 95 times as profitable.
What did the top performers do differently?
There are two types of innovation systems: Thinking Systems and Doing Systems. Staged Gate is a Doing System. It manages risk.
The creativity brainstorming approach to generating ideas causes all of the risk that Staged Gate tries to manage. Replace the Thinking System and all that risk goes away. You can get 96% success and 95 times more profits.
Using Predictive Innovation for your Thinking System turns everything upside down. Instead of starting with a bunch of random ideas, it starts with objective criteria organized into a structure so nothing is overlooked.
Instead of filtering down, you build up. You start with a stable foundation that supports growth of a family of interrelated products.
You multiply profits while reducing risk. All of your work and investment supports future innovation. Profit margins increase over time instead of decrease. And instead of struggling for new ideas it gets easier and easier as you build on your strategy.
Studying patents and product literature of thousands of products shows that most products cover less than 1% of their innovation potential and most industries only cover 13%. That leaves over 80% of the idea space unexplored.
That unexplored idea space is missed opportunity. It's also increased risk from competition or that the easier higher profit idea was never tried. Notice that the ratios of the idea space are nearly identical to the profits of the projects in the Staged Gate study. The Top performers explored more of the idea space resulting in 96% success and 95 times more profits.
Finding and developing new products and services is one way to use Predictive Innovation.
Traditional new product development (NPD) and even Agile/Lean approaches tend to require:
Using Predictive Innovation for new product development (NPD) turns all of that around, it enables:
Improving your processes helps you gain an advantage even if you are selling a commodity product. Internal innovations are one of the most valuable ways to use Predictive Innovation.
Strategy turns a good idea into a successful business. The full spectrum view only available with Predictive Innovation gives you the advantage of the most successful strategies.
Knowing how to communicate with customers is just as important as having what they want. Predictive Innovation gives you a structured approach to understand and translate fuzzy desires into objective results you can measure.
Smart people recognize that intangible assets have become more valuable than tangible assets. Protecting their intellectual property is often a major concern to inventors & business people. However, that isn't your goal. Your real goal is to maximize the value you receive from all available intellectual property. Only Predictive Innovation can do that.
Patents & copyrights are frequently associated with innovation but that is a very incomplete view of the total value. Only a portion of all intellectual property can be patented or copyrighted.
Unclaimed idea space
Other people's patents
As much as 75% of the idea space can't be patented or copyrighted but you still can profit if you know how.
Predictive Innovation increases the value of intellectual property more in ways traditional approaches can't because Predictive Innovation can efficiently describe the entire idea space. Seeing the entire idea space helps you maximize the value of intellectual property, minimize the risk, and neutralize threats.
When you describe the entire idea space you can:
This is just a sampling of the ways Predictive Innovation helps with intellectual property.
Predictive Innovation is the only way to measure the true value of ideas before spending time or money on development.
Calculate the full value and the real risk. See the amount of the entire idea space your investment will buy, not just a share of a market.
The goal of this book is to provide you with the core skills needed to start using Predictive Innovation. You will learn the basics that apply to everything else you will do with Predictive Innovation.
There are six key pieces of knowledge provided by Predictive Innovation: What customers want; How to make it; When to make and release it; Why customers want it; Who uses, buys and makes it; and Where to focus on.
The most important part of innovation is knowing what customers want. Predictive Innovation shows you in advance what customers will want so that you are always two steps ahead. What isn't just the basic idea but the precise requirements needed to satisfy both customers and providers of innovations. Knowing what to make in advance also makes it possible to create business strategies that neutralize competition. You are in control.
A good idea isn't good if you can't profitably deliver it. Predictive Innovation shows you how to solve technical challenges. You eliminate barriers to develop and deliver products, services and strategies.
You are prepared with inexpensive easy-to-do responses to even unexpected changes. That keeps you focused on profitably satisfying customers' unmet desires.
Predicting the right time to start developing and the right time to release a new product is a key value of Predictive Innovation®. Starting too soon will lead to wasted effort and money and starting too late increases risk of competition and reduced profit margins. Predictive Innovation will help you create a step-by-step strategy to deliver exactly the right product at exactly the right time to maximize profits and minimize risk.
Where is more than a geographic location. Where is about relationships. Where in your organization or process to focus efforts to improve? Where are your products in the progression of innovation towards the ideal? Where helps you measure your success, how far yet to achieve, and pinpoint the best use of your resources.
Who are your potential customers? Who will make it? Who will invest? Innovations satisfy desires of people. Understanding Who is crucial to successful innovation.
Finding new customers for existing products is the highest profit, lowest risk way of innovating. Predictive Innovation® will guide you in finding all the potential markets for your existing and new products. This helps you achieve your goals faster and easier.
Who will make the product or deliver the service? Doing everything under one roof is not the only way to deliver a product. Finding the best combination of in-house, outsourced, open-sourced, and un-sourced can be the difference between success and failure. Predictive Innovation® shows you all of the options and how to quickly identify the best combination for you.
Investors want assurance of low risk and large profits. Again there are more investors than the traditional sources. Seeing all sources of investment gets your idea off the drawing board and into customers' hands.
Understanding Why customers want a product is essential for creating the most effective communication. Also you need to know Why you are making it, Why investors will support it. To communicate most effectively you need to speak using the words and feelings they associate with getting What they want.
Learn the core skills and start thinking predictively.