Five Steps to an Effective Innovation Process

The Four-Step Innovation Process

For any growth company, the process of innovation can be both exciting and daunting. Your team has no shortage of ideas, but how do you make sure you’re generating viable ones? In essence, you need a solid framework and clear direction.

1. Observe Your Customers to Uncover New Problems—and Opportunities

By building an understanding your customers’ problems or pain points, you can think of ways your organization can provide solutions. Try creating customer journey maps to illuminate what your customers are doing, thinking, feeling, and experiencing during every stage of the shopping, purchasing, and consumption process.

2. Create New Solutions

Now you can use your customer insights to explore new ways to make a profit. Alexander Osterwalder’s business model canvas is an effective tool for visually plotting and identifying these opportunities.

3. Prototype and Learn in the Market

To arrive at an optimal final product, adhere to the principles of lean development: introduce your product to the market as a basic offer first. This enables you to learn continuously from customer behavior and change the offer quickly if it is not working.

4. Implement the Best Ideas

Take those successful prototypes to market—and keep learning.

Embracing this process as an iterative cycle of learning gives you the flexibility to try out new business possibilities and refine the ideas. This is the best practice for growth companies.

5. User Feedback

Throughout the pilot projects, we had received feedback from pioneering faculty who taught innovatively, had been part of IDEA, and were ready to imagine a whole new building that would reflect the lessons they had learned. We wanted an active, fluid learning environment — a flexible, open, and transparent space with light and movable furniture and state-of-the-art technology tools. We envisioned group-integrated experiential learning in flipped classrooms and many other possibilities.

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