Nine out of ten new products introduced into the marketplace fails. And this is because business organizations rely on a random and disorganized system of brainstorming, focus groups and quantitative consumer research.
The new book ” Lightning in a Bottle: The Proven System to Create New Ideas that Work” by David Minter and Micheal Reid introduces the concept of Idea Engineering as a much better way to create new ideas. Idea Engineering is a 7-step system that enjoys a success rate of 1 in 2. It includes the following steps:
- Learn = how to effectively research, compile and sift, relevant information
- Develop “Working Theories” = how to synopsize what you’ve learned and develop working theories
- Develop ideas (concepts) from the “working theories” = how to bring together research and working theories to develop actionable ideas with maximum potential.
- Do financial due diligence = how to determine if ideas will actually make money before you talk to consumers
- Talk to consumers — not in focus groups, but one at a time = how to test and modify ideas with one-on-one interactions with consumers, and avoid the biggest mistake that product developers make: depending on focus groups
- Iterate the concepts by listening to consumers = how to modify your questions and your concept during one-on-one consumer interaction, thus employing a real-time concept development with real consumers
- Take the best concepts coming out of the interviews and “monetize” them – predict their real world value = how to predict real world value by conducting a large scale quantitative survey with consumers
One of the book’s points is that “creative business geniuses know what the public wants.” This reminded me of a conversion I had with the President of a market research company I worked with early in my career. While she talked of the importance of market research (which is after all the business of the company), she said that not all successful products in the market was launched with the guidance of market research. She mentioned the classic story of the launching of Sony Walkman whereby the Sony Chairman at that time refused to do a market study on the product. He instinctively knew that this would be a success, and true enough, Sony Walkman became extremely successful and popular.