Often there are enough ideas for new developments and innovations. But how to translate them to a strategic product development vision for the future? Maaike Zonnenberg, Innovation Strategy Specialist and Project Manager at MMID, explains how to create the basis of a concrete product development vision for your company with a strategic workshop lasting just half a day.
Giving direction to innovation
The focus of the Innovation Strategy discipline of MMID is to support clients to create a clear product development vision and by doing so, giving direction to strategic innovation. Maaike: “We do this, for example, by organizing strategic workshops. You could say that we are never the specialist in the field of expertise of our clients. The different stakeholders at the client are the specialists, as they have all the insights. It is our job to collect these valuable insights, especially information that may not seem that obvious. In a strategic workshop you try to collect relevant information by asking the right questions and look at a problem from different angles, which helps to create a clear direction for the company’s vision together.
Maaike: “Innovation can only be successful if technology, users and the business case are aligned: Technology/Users/Business, our TUB model. That is not always the case. The main reason why a lot of startups don’t make it, is that there isn’t a market (yet) for the innovations they are developing. In many cases the startups are technology driven. The business case can be accurate, but sometimes there just aren’t any users that are waiting for these kinds of new developments. And it will not become successful.
It is important that all roles are represented in strategic workshops; for instance, an R&D-manager is looking from a totally different perspective at innovation than a marketing manager. Interaction and participation are key in these sessions. The perfect brainstorm session is a setting in which everyone can speak out freely, leading to a certain dynamic that enables people to co-create. During the workshop we will use different ways to gather information that is already there, but wasn’t visible at the surface. In the next steps we will interpret this information together with the client and translate it to a concrete vision in which technology, users and the business case are aligned. The spot where user, technology and business come together is what we call the hot TUB. Using the TUB model, the client gets a clearer understanding of the direction that can and must be taken with their product development.
With the TUB model as our basis, we can provide our clients with services that are part of developing an innovation strategy. These can be included in the strategic workshops or on a longer course of action. We can develop a design manual, for example, to improve future developments, making it more efficient.
We can also develop demonstration models, which are realistic, working prototypes of a product that can be used to convince internal stakeholders. On a more abstract level we also can develop future visions (which can be supported by sketches, renders and physical models), we can support in developing a realistic business case for a new product or product family and we can provide patent-, trend- or user research. For every need, we can provide support in this important phase that precedes the concrete development of a product.
Would you like to know more about strategic workshops or one of our other strategic services? Please contact Maaike.