What are the steps in the innovation process?

What are the steps in the innovation process?

1 Expert Answer

Tony Ulwick

Founder & CEO,  Strategyn

You can consistently achieve success at innovation if you follow this 5-step innovation process:

  1. Define your market around the job-to-be-done. Defining your market as a group of people plus the job they are trying to get done provides your company with a stable focal point around which to align and orchestrate value creation efforts for years to come. While products come and go, the customer’s job-to-be-done remains stable over time.
  2. Define customer needs as success metrics tied to the job-to-be-done. When looking at a market through a jobs-to-be-done lens, customer needs can be discovered by studying the customer’s job-to-be-done as a process. Break down this job into steps using what we call a job map. Then, interview customers to uncover the metrics customers use to measure success as they try to get each step in the job done. These metrics are the perfect way to think about and define the customer’s “needs.”
  3. Determine which outcomes are under- and over-served—and by how much. Administer a survey to a statistically valid sample of the customer population. This can be anywhere from 120 to 4000 people, depending on the situation. Ask each respondent to think about the last time they executed the job and the context surrounding the execution of the job. Next, ask them to tell you what solution they used. Then ask them to rate their level of importance and satisfaction with each outcome.
  4. Discover segments of customers with different unmet needs. Use factor and cluster analysis to segment your customers around unmet needs. Study each segment (using the already completed research) to determine what context, circumstances and product usage is causing each segment to be under- and/or over-served. With this powerful approach to market segmentation, you are able to discover and pursue opportunities your competitors will fail to see.
  5. Target and address many of the customer’s most unmet needs. As an innovator, your role is to help customers get the job done better and/or more cheaply. With knowledge of all the customer’s outcomes and which are unmet in different segments of the market, you are prepared to formulate a breakthrough product solution.

To learn more about the innovation process read this article Rethink your innovation process.

Answers by Strategyn

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