Back in 1984, in an advertisement that is now in almost every list of best-ever-ads, Apple told us that they Think Different:
Apple have continued to ‘humanise’ technology. Making products that people revere, rather than causing us headaches as we fumble around trying to get gadgets to work.
I suggested a while ago that producing stuff as good as Apple’s products comes down to the very heart of what makes your company tick.
And Thomas Dawson wrote last week on a similar theme. But he gives more nuts and bolts:
“…people in focus groups have a frame of reference that is based on what is currently known to them. Most people usually want more of what they currently know – only with more features and cheaper.”
But with a more radical innovation:
“People discover something unexpected [in your product] that… is somehow what people have been waiting for, just not asking for.”
So there’s one clue that focus groups can’t give you what you need to truly innovate. But what can?
Here’s a book on that very topic: Design-driven Innovation.
Design-driven Innovation is about using the expertise of scientists, customers, suppliers, intermediaries, designers, artists – people “who deeply understand and shape the markets they work in” …to help you innovate and improve your product.
How is your product different to your competitors’?
Products in any one category are becoming so similar that very often difference is only in image.
Somebody, and when I remember who, I’ll come back to this blog post and reference them… said that many of the beers on the market are so similar that when people drink beer, they are literally drinking the advertising.
Advertising helps create the difference in your brand. But advertising is more effective when its message represents real difference.
One way to build a really solid, market-leading business, is to create a real valuable difference in your product.
That means looking into how you can truly innovate.
Who are the experts that can help you innovate in your business?