As organisations adapt and innovate, they inevitably alter their products, processes and systems. Whether mid-sized or multinational, companies quite understandably focus on ensuring the effectiveness and efficiency of their operations. They launch new products, re-engineer their processes and refresh their infrastructure. They strive for growth and continued success and are forever on the lookout for the next ‘big idea’.
Yet, an unpleasant reality can haunt the unprepared. Often these innovative projects and initiatives end up placing too much focus internally. They are driven by ideas that are formed in board meetings, in departmental problem solving sessions and during internal workshops. We run innovative brainstorming sessions and come up with ideas that everyone agrees are just fantastic. Inadvertently, and with the best of intentions, we risk ignoring the customer. We assume that we are going to deliver something they will value — yet how much true customer input or insight have we sought? Often the answer is “little” or “none”.
Take the following hypothetical examples: