Innovation workshops seem to be in ascendency – not a week goes by without a customer asking about these, setting one up, wanting to discuss how other organisations ‘innovate’. Many times the innovation workshop is set up with great fanfare and senior exec sponsorship only to limp on for a few months as “the next big thing” fails to materialise before the team finally decides that they’re just not innovative.
I can’t help think that the innovation workshop is trying to answer questions that your customer wasn’t asking in the first place and is all set for failure as soon as its mandate is set. Customers are not interested in innovation per se, they want you to apply your specialist skills and knowledge to problem solve – use what you know to fix problems that they have.
So what if we turn innovation workshops into problem discovery workshops? Perhaps it sounds less glamorous, but working out what issues keep your customers awake at night, stop them growing, limit their profit potential are much more likely to result in successful product – you’re solving problems rather than simply being ‘innovative’.
So work out who you serve, what issues keep them awake at night and spend your innovation energy solving real world problems – perhaps the quickest route to product success.