5 Ways to Make Your Innovation Strategy More Customer-Focused

Filed Under Innovation

5 Ways to Make Your Innovation Strategy More Customer-Focused

May 20, 2014

Today’s relevant companies know that the most effective way to grow is to uncover winning ideas — and more importantly, quickly turn those ideas into actions and tools that deliver results. Innovation needs to happen continuously and always with the customer in mind. Here are 5 ways to keep your innovation strategy customer-focused.

1. Set Your Intent

You need to be intentional about your innovation strategy. The goal should not be just to “innovate,” but to innovate with a specific goal in mind, and that goal should be designed around your customers’ needs. Are you looking to create an easier way for customers to manage their emails? Or are you trying to create a better version of an existing app that makes it easy for users to communicate with you? Identify what exactly you want to do in order to keep the strategy on-point.

2. Integrate

Innovation needs talent, and to be able to crowdsource and uncover the ideas that will move your intentions forward, you need to sell the idea of innovation to your customer. Do your due diligence: capture, analyze, and integrate customer insights and feedback from all channels. This is real-world data will help you zone in on innovation ideas, rank them, and select the right ones to carry forward.

3. Crowdsource: Keep it Constant and Engage Over Time

Once the intention is set and the data has been collected, you can crowdsource for the next big innovation. Crowdsourcing is a great way to uncover new talent, especially people who may not be as outspoken as others. It beats referrals and online sourcing, and with a little planning and effort, you could end up with a great new hire or product idea. First, make it easy for interested people to volunteer for a project. Spell out what your requirements are and who is eligible to apply. Then create an efficient way to be contacted, or to have them contact you. You’ll also want to measure the metrics. Keep an eye on how the project is developing, when there are spikes in activity, which ideas are getting more attention than others, and when overall interest takes a dive. Incentives: You need to recognize the efforts of your customers and volunteers with rewards and social currency that is of value to them. Doritos did this with their Crash The Super Bowl contest, where fans and customers could create their own ads, with the best one airing during the game.

4. Consider the Collaborative Requirement

Crowdsourcing requires the right collaborative platform: one where as many or as few people can work together. It may require an entire team from within your organization or several independent contractors across the globe working independent of each other. Great platforms should include the following three attributes:

Accessibility. Capturing ideas from every corner of an organization means that your innovation management tool must allow for varying levels of expertise, investment, and intuitiveness.

Scalability. Whether your organization is comprised of hundreds or even hundreds of thousands of employees, whatever platform you choose needs to be able to handle the noise. Otherwise, you’re guaranteed to be missing out on something.

Transparency. Communication is at the foundation of enterprise innovation. Keeping the pipeline free and clear means being up front with both needs and means of inspiring ideas.

5. Communicate Effectively

Effective and regular communication is what brings ideas to fruition. Users should be able to express their ideas freely, vote and share comments, review ideas, and be rewarded when they come up with the best ones. With a tool like SpigitEngage, you can innovate at scale and bring great ideas to the surface. The highly-intuitive user interface makes it easy to capture and refine idea feedback via votes, ratings, comments, and reviews. The pairwise voting feature ensures that each idea is given equal consideration by the crowd, and the idea trading market allows users to invest virtual currency into an idea, providing crowd-based insight into actionable possibilities. Plus, the analytics tools allow you to track the movement of ideas within the platform, giving you greater perspective into how the crowd analyzes and addresses challenges.