One simple test to tell if your new product idea is a keeper or just a fling

Developing a new product is hard and I’m talking from first-hand experience.

When the new product is your idea it’s easy to fall in love with it. When you fall in love you don’t see faults and flaws. You can only see beauty.

If you have a strategy for innovation it is likely that you are developing ideas that are a combination of furthering your organisation’s mission and solving a problem for your customer. Your customers’ problem is often uncovered through insights, solicited through a range of methods including focus groups, surveys, interviews, feedback or simply spending time with and observing your customers behaviour.

Observations over time can reveal a lot and we often identify solutions to problems that customers didn’t even know they had – and a new product is born!

However, if something is genuinely new you have to convince your customer that the new product is the thing they can’t live without. None of us knew we needed the Internet, coconut water or mobile phones. I remember resigning to the fact I was going to have to get a mobile phone but I swore I’d only use it for emergencies. Ten years later I take my phone everywhere with me. I’ve even been known to check it on the toilet for fear of something catastrophic happening if I don’t look at it for a minute.

Right now, I do feel that something catastrophic might happen if I let my phone and access to the Internet out of my sight because I just launched a crowdfund campaign.

Is my idea a keeper or just a fling?

I thought a crowdfund would be the fastest way to test a concept I’ve fallen in love with directly with customers and hopefully provide some objectivity. I also get to raise the money to get the concept off the ground at the same time. It’s how I’m finding out if my idea is a keeper or a fling. And it’s happening right now.

My insight is through my work as an innovation consultant. I work with individuals and organisations helping them to think differently, have confidence in their creativity and make their good ideas happen.

Over the years I’ve noticed it doesn’t really matter how much budget you have or what tech or data is available. It doesn’t even matter how good the idea is. People are the ones that make good ideas happen and they are also what stops innovation.

I focus my energies on helping people have the strategies, skills and courage to make change happen. I’ve been shocked by how little support people require to really flourish and achieve so much more than they think is possible. I’m equally shocked by how little budget organisations put aside for these softer skills and their most important asset – their people.

I’ve just finished an innovation leadership report, (which you can download from www.lucidity.org.uk/freestuff) which compounds what I’ve learned from my hands-on work. The report is a series of interviews with an eclectic mix of innovators. The interviews revealed that the five most important innovation enablers are focus, understanding your audience, resilience to keep going despite knockbacks, support from others and the most important enabler to successful innovation was simply making time to think.

So, my idea is the Lucidity Network – a mix of online and offline learning and support – helping you to carve out the time to focus and think clearly, matched up with a network of people to provide encouragement and support to keep you going when it gets tough.

If people like the idea, they join the network by backing the crowd fund. This avoids the scenario when people say, ‘oh yes, if you launch it I’ll sign up,’ because what people say they’ll do and what people actually do are two different things.

If this works it means I have enough money to get the Lucidity Network going together with some early adopters giving me feedback on the product.

If I don’t raise the target I give the backers their money back and nothing happens. I’ll either conclude that it’s a good idea and people don’t understand why they need it and have another go – or concede to failing fast.

Check out the Lucidity Network – if you think it’s a good idea then back it and share with your friends and colleagues. The fate of the Lucidity Network lies with you – in the customer’s hands.

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