One of the most common problems we see is people jumping straight into ideas. The idea generation process is full of creative energy, it is engaging and fun. It can also be addictive. Getting to this stage too quickly often results in ideas that are off target. To avoid this situation it is important that time is spent gathering insight. This insight will allow the problem or opportunity to be well defined. It will also ensure that participants in the idea generation process are well briefed and focussed on the right things.
In our experience good insights are the result of analysis and observation. Our key areas of focus include:
- Customer observation – going out and watching customers interact with your product and service is critical to gaining insight. We like to think of this as going on Safari with customer. The rules of a safari work well: you are there to look not touch, keep your arms in the vehicle and don’t interact with the wild life.
- Workplace observation – similar to customer observation if your problem is related to business operations it is critical that you see what is happening. You need to approach this process with open eyes and open questions.
- Data analysis – the field of data analysis has developed significantly in the past few years. You should seek to acquire and interrogate both your data and others data to gain a deeper understanding of both the problems and opportunities.
- Market analysis and research – customer focus groups and traditional market research remains important and should complement the other activities listed above.
A focus on these activities and the synthesis of the findings into themes and topics will allow you to create a brief that will ensure you get the most out of the idea generation activities.