I was facilitating a “user group” for a client this morning. They were looking for product innovation. The user group submitted a list of requests to my client of product enhancements they wanted. These users weren’t enthusiastic about “digging-up, dusting-off or uncovering” innovative ideas by asking questions around these product enhancement requests. They want the client to “just do it.”

My reaction? How can you expect a different result (product innovation) by doing the same thing you always do (submit list of product enhancements)? Don’t you have to generate some additional “raw material” to work with to help generate a different result?

Three ways to generate “raw material” for innovation:

  • Start at the result you are looking for and “work backwards,” step by step to the present issue.
  • Add “who, what, if, because and how” to the issue (this tool is called the strategic inquiry tool).
  • Write a few sentences (up to a paragraph) of what it looks like when the objective is achieved (this is called a “future pace” letter). What does extraordinarily successful look like?

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