"Free Report - The Innovation Lens: A Secret Blueprint for identifying the Next Big Thing ! "
Dear Business Leader,
Business has never been so competitive and the ability to develop and launch new products and services is critical. If you don’t innovate, then survival in the long term will be tough. Yet 90% of new developments result in commercial failure.
If you’ve ever gone through the pain and frustration of trying to develop a new product or an innovative solution for your company you will already be aware of the many pitfalls.
Even if you have the right people and processes in place, hand on heart can you always tell exactly what your customers want? All too often “supposedly winning” product ideas flop in the market.
So imagine being able to figure out exactly what your market wants to buy, the competitive definition of your offering and the exact sales pitch they want to hear!
My free report discusses some of the issues with innovation and highlights proven processes that help you get inside the head of the customer to ensure every launch is a winner. Topics covered include:
• Why you shouldn’t listen to the voice of the customer
• The search for Six-Sigma innovation
• How to identify innovation hotspots
• Winning ways to generate concepts
Furthermore, I will send you the Mindsheet newsletter “The Innovation Lens”, packed with innovation tips and news.
Your email address will never be sold, traded or used by anyone else. Plus you can unsubscribe in one click at ANY time.
Wishing you great innovation success,
Britain has an outstanding record of invention but often misses out on exploitation. It’s hard to get risk capital to turn technology ideas into market winners. However, it’s not just the absence of capital that causes problems:
- Entrepreneurs often don’t understand how to create investable propositions
- They focus on the wrong activities that alienate time-pressured investors
Furthermore, investors often don’t understand technology preferring a clearer path to profits through mature enterprises.
It’s a shame, because well executed projects that resolve technology risk in the context of strong market pull leads to the greatest value for both investors and the UK. It worked for us in the industrial revolution and today we simply can’t afford to miss the boat.
So what do I propose?
- An investment internet portal that makes donating funds as easy as using the “Just Giving” charity site
- Simpler financial compliance by limiting donations to small sums of money – micro-investments
- The hosting of educational materials to help entrepreneurs create a perfect “dragon’s den” pitch
The commercialisation of this innovation launch machine will be through modest membership fees and a percentage of funds raised.
Imagine a UK that boasted more than just pioneering research and development, but that can claim to be the “first stop” for all the world’s entrepreneurs who wish to get their innovations off the ground. This would lead to a huge influx of ideas that would power our prosperity for the next century as well as solving some of the world’s most pressing problems.
I’m Raglan Tribe and I’m looking for the Technology Strategy Board prize to get my idea of the ground. Specifically,
- The development of a legally compliant micro-investment portal with tracking and audit to ensure that investors get a great deal
- The inclusion of e-learning to ensure that participants know how to deliver solid investment plans
- The inclusion of sociable viral technologies for promoting entrepreneur pitches and rounding up a large audience of micro-investors
- And lastly of course, the exposure and credibility that comes from winning this competition
Mindsheet is delighted to host this exciting conference at Langstone Technology Park on May the 20th.
Market Inspired Innovation is a structured approach for creating new products and services by putting customer insight into the earliest stages of the innovation process, transforming a hit and miss craft into a systematic process that generates new value.
This conference is organised by SCI and Mindsheet and is aimed at business people looking to exploit the next cycle of growth through innovation.
Here’s a question that was often posed by Gary Halbert, the late legendary copywriter, to his students:
“If you and I both owned a hamburger stand and we were in a contest to see who could sell the most hamburgers, what advantages would you most like to have on your side to help you win?”
After hearing all the wonderful ideas back from his students, Gary’s response was always the same:
“The only advantage I want …
A Starving Crowd!”
It’s a simple message really and one that extends far beyond the direct marketing discipline where Gary made his name. As a product innovator or entrepreneur it’s your job to find that hungry market and feed them what they are already hungry for rather than blindly developing solutions for a market with no desire.
It makes absolutely no sense to design a product if you first do not know what your customers want or what their problems are.
Seek out the starving crowd in your chosen market and you’ll have the greatest advantage over your competitors.
To get more pearls of wisdom from Gary Halbert visit: http://www.thegaryhalbertletter.com/
Hot on the heels of winning the Innovation of the Year Award (for our Testudo Surveillance Robot), Mindsheet were pleased to receive a visit from some local dignitaries to come and try out the winning concept for themselves.
On April 21st Mindsheet welcomed the Mayor of Havant Cllr John Smith, the Mayoress of Havant Mrs Hilary Smith, the Chairman of Hampshire County Council Cllr Michael Woodhall and Havant Borough Council’s Business Development Manager Mr Tony Lee to our office at Langstone Technology Park.
Cllr Woodhall was on a tour of local business parks and the Mayor of Havant was keen to draw our business to his attention as winner of Innovation of the Year in the News Business Awards.
Our guests had a tour of our office and Raglan talked them through the story of our winning robot before we headed outside for a hands-on demo of Testudo.
Our guests were so engaged in talking about the robot alongside Mindsheet’s other activities that they overran their meeting by an hour, making them very late for their next appointment!
For more information about Mindsheet’s win at the Innovation Awards, visit here.
So there’s consensus within your organisation that now is the time to innovate. Competitive pressures are mounting up and more than ever you need to develop that unique solution for your customers to ensure your business continues to be a success. But you want to get that innovation to the market fast. There is enormous pressure to start working on a solution, any solution.
You conduct some research, look at current solutions available and before you know it, decisions are made and resources are diverted into product development. But months down the line the “innovation” is launched to the market only to become a commercial flop. Your innovation didn’t really solve a problem. There’s no demand for your product.
So what went wrong? Well, the organisation was too quick to focus on a solution without properly understanding the customers’ outcomes. In my paper “The Innovation Lens“, I discussed Anthony Ulwick’s Outcome-Driven Innovation Model which focuses on the jobs the customer will do with or without the solutions available.
Customer outcomes should relate to the job the customer is trying to get done; they should not include a solution or features. Don’t unnecessarily narrow the scope of innovation to something the customer is currently using rather than what the customer is trying to get done. Current products and services are merely point-in-time solutions that enable customers to execute jobs.
In trying to analyse the customer outcomes, Ulwick believes that most projects fail not because customers don’t understand the problem but because the people trying to solve the problem don’t ask the right questions. So whilst we need to carefully eliminate assumed solutions from our customers’ need statements, we also need to set the research objectives correctly in the first instance.
Take our recent participation in the MOD Grand Challenge as an example. The aim of the Grand Challenge was to:
“Create a system that can detect, identify, locate and report a comprehensive range of military threats in a hostile urban environment, with a high degree of autonomy “.
By specifying the need for autonomy, an element of the solution was outlined within the main objective, thereby seriously restricting the scope for an early innovation. Autonomous general purpose threat detection is a very hard problem that is unlikely to be solved any time soon. And yet, soldiers need a solution to detect threats right now. By saying that the solution must be autonomous closes the door on an “Apple iPod” type innovation that is highly productive and ergonomic.
In setting the outcome criteria for the competition, it would have been better in terms of number of threats identified, minimising false positives and location errors. And to reward the benefits of autonomy, the underlying criteria could have been set as: minimising the number of people to operate the system, the time to perform the task, or to maximise the stand-off range and maybe add the constraint that operators should have their “eyes out” rather than “eyes down” for better safety under gunfire. Expressing the criteria in this way provides scope for other radical ways of solving problems other than through autonomy.
We need to move off the solution when looking for ways to innovate. We need to talk about jobs, outcomes and constraints instead of solutions and give innovation a chance.
The importance of a good product survey cannot be underestimated in the innovation process. You’ve already developed an understanding of your customer environment and goals (through jobs, outcomes, constraints, issues and existing solutions). You’ve generated concepts that address the innovation hotspots and through refinement and development you’ve got a shortlist of product solutions for the market.
You’d be a fool to ignore the customer input at this stage and rely only on intuition or internal feedback to determine what product(s) makes the final cut. Find out what your customers think of your shortlisted products. Don’t make the mistake of not carrying out a survey.
The best way to get balanced feedback quickly from your customers is to ask through an online survey. Surveys get to the pulse of your customers by revealing their satisfaction levels and preferences. What quicker way is there to gauge customer needs and respond to their requirements? Whether you are discovering their preferred product, evaluating their desire for particular product attributes or ascertaining their budget, conducting a customer product survey is easier than you think.
We regularly conduct customer surveys at Mindsheet, so we’ve put together a report, “5 Simple Steps to Conduct Your Own Product Survey” to help you send out your own effective surveys in no time at all. But before I arm you with our invaluable guide, what better way to illustrate how we do it than to get you to complete one of our own surveys online.
I’ve set up a simple, short (60 second) survey, to find out what products you are looking for and ensure we develop the best solutions for you.
Just click on the link to our survey and on completion you’ll receive your copy of “5 Simple Steps to Conduct Your Own Product Survey”. Our guide contains hints and tips to get you engaging with your target customers to get the feedback you need. In addition you get a sample survey and we tell you how to do your own — quickly and simply using FREE software!
Click on the link to take part in our survey and receive your free copy of “5 Simple Steps to Conduct Your Own Product Survey”.
If you have a friend who you think will benefit from our report, please forward this page onto them.
Thanks in advance for sparing a few minutes of your time.
An army of robots went on display today [11 March 2009] to demonstrate the impact of science and technology on military operations.
Unmanned bomb disposal vehicles and spy robots operated using an Xbox games console controller were lined up for inspection at Armoury House in London.
The exhibition is part of National Science and Engineering Week (NSEW), an annual series of events celebrating the importance of science, engineering and technology in our lives.
Minister for Defence Equipment and Support Quentin Davies said: ‘The Ministry of Defence and the defence industry are working together to exploit new technologies that can help and protect our armed forces”.
Mindsheet took along their Testudo reconnaisannce robot to the event organised by the MOD. Testudo was originally conceived for the MOD Grand Challenge in 2008 and we are now under contract with the MOD to make the robot more rugged and user-friendly for battlefield use.
Further coverage of the event:
GADGETS and gizmos that could equip our troops of the future have helped to launch the MOD’s new Defence Technology Plan.
The Defence Technology Plan is the first time the MOD has unveiled its long-term research needs. It underlines the importance of science and technology in providing cutting-edge kit for the battlefield.
Minister for Defence Equipment and Support, Quentin Davies, said:
“Innovation is at the heart of our success on the battlefield and by launching the Defence Technology Plan today, we are looking to embrace and encourage novel, cutting-edge ideas to provide our future forces with the latest technological advances so they can stay one step ahead of the enemy.
“It is more vital than ever that we exploit new and emerging technologies because the threats our troops face are always evolving. To do this, we need to make the best use of the Defence industrial base, as well as the wealth of ability and expertise found among small businesses, talented individuals and academia”.
Mindsheet were one of 5 companies granted research contracts by the MOD, to attend the launch event at Whitehall on 26th February along with our reconnaissance robot, Testudo.
Mindsheet Press Release
25 February 2009
Mindsheet is pleased to announce that we have been awarded an MOD contract by the CDE (Centre for Defence Enterprise) to develop a rugged mini-robot, named Testudo, to act as a reconnaissance scout for troops.
Originally unveiled at the MOD Grand Challenge 2008, the robot scout is a platoon level asset that supports hazardous ground manoeuvres such as early warning of threat events, clearance of hazardous ground, compounds and buildings and could even help locate enemy fire. This low cost, man portable device acts as a force multiplier that could ultimately save lives.
The £28k contract, awarded in January 2009, will enable Mindsheet to further develop the robot for field testing in March with a view to realise the production system later in 2009.
Mindsheet has already been awarded Innovation of the Year by The News, Portsmouth, for work on the robot to date.
Raglan Tribe, the Managing Director of Mindsheet, says:
“It’s a great honour to be given the opportunity to support our troops. Hopefully, this programme will allow us to get the technology in a state where it could help save lives. If so, then our job is done”.
While the Cat’s Away, the Mouse will Play…….
Raglan’s deserted the Mindsheet camp for a week for a much overdue break and so it’s a case of while the cat’s away, the mice will play. Don’t get me wrong, we’re not all sitting here with our feet up. On the contrary, it’s a chance for me, Yvette, to play the creative card and write the latest blog for your enjoyment (I hope).
But a free reign to write what you want can be a kiss of death to all but the most creative. I don’t profess to be an innovation expert like Raglan (I’m on steep learning curve having spent many years in financial services marketing), so I’ve been looking for a bit of inspiration.
Where to start? I did the first thing many of us do, I went on Google. Looked to see what’s hot on innovation, searched for ideas. And then it hit me in the face. It was obvious. I’m struggling for ideas so why not put together a little piece on how to be creative in the first place.
I’m sure you already know there is a wealth of information out there on the subject, so I’ve done some digging in order to compile a short guide to creativity. My intention was to pick the best ideas from a selection of thinkers but I came across one blog called Gaping Void by Hugh Macleod that really inspired me so I make no apologies in quoting directly from it.
Here, in my opinion, are some of the best bits:
- Ignore everybody
The more original your idea is, the less good advice other people will be able to give you
- The idea doesn’t have to be big. It just has to change the world
The two are not the same thing
- Put the hours in
Doing anything worthwhile takes forever. 90% of what separates successful people and failed people is time, effort and stamina
- If your business plan depends on you suddenly being “discovered” by some big shot, your plan will probably fail
Nobody suddenly discovers anything. Things are made slowly and in pain
- Everyone is born creative; everyone is given a box of crayons in kindergarten
As you get older they take the crayons away and replace them with books on algebra etc. Being suddenly hit years later with the creative bug is just a wee voice telling you, “I’d like my crayons back, please.”
- Companies that squelch creativity can no longer compete with companies that champion creativity
Nor can you bully a subordinate into becoming a genius
- Everybody has their own private Mount Everest they were put on this earth to climb
You may never reach the summit; for that you will be forgiven. But if you don’t make at least one serious attempt to get above the snow-line, years later you will find yourself lying on your deathbed, and all you will feel is emptiness
- The more talented somebody is, the less they need the props
Meeting a person who wrote a masterpiece on the back of a deli menu would not surprise me. Meeting a person who wrote a masterpiece with a silver Cartier fountain pen on an antique writing table in an airy SoHo loft would SERIOUSLY surprise me
- Don’t worry about finding inspiration. It comes eventually
Inspiration precedes the desire to create, not the other way around
- The hardest part of being creative is getting used to it
If you have the creative urge, it isn’t going to go away. But sometimes it takes a while before you accept the fact
Well I hope that gave you a little bit of inspiration for the day. Must get back to the mountain of jobs Raglan has given me now……..