Innovation is the bond between strategy and growth. It is not a nice-to-have concept; it is a necessary one. While many companies use R&D as a proxy for innovation, it is seldom so onerous and resource intensive.  It can simply be a well placed idea to sell one more item to your customers.

Innovation

strategic thinking, decision making, innovation, 4D, job to be done, tailgate, define, discover, develop, demonstrate

Our methodology

The 4D Innovation Road Map serves to bring any user from start to end on the innovation journey. The 4D's refer to Define, Discover, Develop and Demonstrate.  Define is the first crucial element because it seeks to identify The Job To Be Done. This concept of JTBD is so fundamental to innovation, as well as to strategic thinking (intent focus) that most companies spend an inordinate amount of time dealing with that. The Discover element is really where the creative process kicks in and the different avenues to take to achieve the JTBD will be proposed. These will then enter into an assessment process where the best idea is chosen. Next, the idea will be put to the development stage. Here, the execution is proposed and finetuned. The prototype is taken to market to assess its viability before it is finally rolled out in the Demonstrate phase - so called because it is here that the idea is demonstrated onto the business.

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Define

Here we​ look at what the customer wants from our products and services and identify the Job To Be Done. The customer is loosely defined here - it is anyone who would benefit from your idea and who would agree to support your project. This element is very closely linked to our organic growth program when we talk about connect deeply with your customer.

 

 

Why is this important for you?

Innovation has to be able to impact people positively. And must want it.  Framing the problem statement and identifying the Job To Be Done are critical to make innovation work. Without this, there is no way we can move forward.

 

Discover

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By walking around in our customers' shoes, we understand a great deal of what is happening and what they need. Sometimes the things that they need are not even in the market and hence our customers are unable to articulate that. We will have to take their experiences apart, identify what is missing, discarding what is not required and reassembling what is left is the creative destruction that accompanies all Discoveries!

 

Why is this important for you?

First seeing what is out there and then seeing how our customers are reacting to them, and finally knowing what is missing are vital ingredients in making innovation work for you. Some people say that this is the first step, rather than Defining. The fact is, they are both inter-related and more iterative than linear.

Develop

This is where we muster all our resources and identify the best way to deliver what the customer needs.  After having discovered the "magic pill", it is now time to make that pill!  Many innovative ideas fail at this juncture because we don't always know what is hiding around the corner when we first start something out and when we bump into it, we are required to overcome that or we sink. Some solutions require technical ingenuity that might be limited.

 

Why is this important for you?

This is where the rubber meets the road for the first time. Having a great idea without anyone doing anything about it is not innovation. Yet the moment we start doing things, other related things start to show itself up.  So if innovation is key to your organisation, then taking this step by step is important for you.

 

Deliver

The final D is to demonstrate the viability of the product or service. While this step is not always required, when we are innovating for the market, it is paramount. We return to our organic growth program when we look at the ways we make a solution sustainable and, in time, profitable. After all, if time and money are spent in finding a solution, it should reap us the benefits of commercialisation. But the distance between Define and Demonstrate can be far, and sometimes, never the 'twain shall meet.

 

Why is this important for you?

If you are going for commercialisation of a project, then you will need to identify ways to offer your product in the most cost effective way. The reason why concept cars remain as so is because it is not easy to produce that car in a cost effective way. Hence when they finally hit the road, a lot of the elements of the concept car are lost. That's why it is important to understand what we need to do when we get to this point.

Want to make Innovation work?

6 concepts you need to adopt to break out the magic of innovation at work