What keeps companies from innovating

Develop innovations with customers and serve markets

Here are three examples of modified and tested modules:

Problem Olympics
Classic brainstorming is modified for this. The original method was designed to provide solutions to problems. The aim of this exercise, however, is to find “really good problems”. A problem is really good when it exists in the market that the company can serve and there is no solution to it yet. This creates real innovations with which new markets can be opened up. To loosen up, the groups compete against each other.

Expert café
The classic “Knowledge Café” serves as the basis. However, the function of the café owner is modified, i.e. he does not act as a neutral moderator, but as a technical expert. He is available to answer questions from customers' everyday business. This results in raw themes that are recorded on paper tablecloths. The groups rotate from table to table, are informed about the work of the opening group and supplement the current table topic with their own questions and impulses.

Marketplace of inspiration
The seminar room is being converted into a large market square. Based on the open space method, the customers demonstrate at stands how they use the company's products and services. The experts act as visitors to the marketplace, gather information at the stands and collect inspiration. The reverse exchange thus further fuels the innovation work.

4. Do not confuse ideas with innovations

After the workshop there are many raw ideas that need to be further developed into marketable innovations. The customer workshop itself is a step in a five-stage process model, consisting of:

  • Preparatory phase
  • Generation phase
  • Assessment phase
  • Implementation phase
  • Stabilization phase

The workshop objectives are defined in the preparation phase. They serve as the basis for the methods used. In the subsequent workshop, customers and companies meet and develop ideas and discuss trends (generation phase). These raw ideas recorded here are sorted, filtered and prioritized according to topics such as market relevance, trends or technical feasibility on the following day in the assessment phase. After the management has allocated project budgets to the most promising ideas and concrete innovation projects have been initiated, tangible innovations now emerge (implementation phase). In the stabilization phase, which then takes place, application tests remove the last difficulties in order to transfer the innovations either as a process into regular operation or as a product into the sales process.