Front End of Innovation


A group of colleagues in a meeting in their office

4! The Secret Number of Ideation

The number four is pretty cool. For music nerds like me, the number has lots of significance. For example, in most modern music, time is constructed in four beats per measure. In ancient times, the number four signified “wholeness” and “completeness.” Even today, we orient ourselves using the four cardinal directions: north, south, east, and west. As it turns out, the number four has significance...

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Yes, Virginia, Quantitative Data Has a Role in Innovation

Yes, Virginia, Quantitative Data Has a Role in Innovation

As a research firm supporting our clients’ innovation efforts, I get asked at least once a week: “Do you guys do quantitative research?” If you were wondering, the answer is a resounding yes! Tools of innovation and insight generation are not limited to ethnographies, focus groups, telephone interviews, and other qualitative research practices. Where things get tricky is fully understanding what quantitative research can do for...

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Let Me Save You Some Time

Let Me Save You Some Time

I admit it. I’m terrible at keeping up with work-related reading.  If I come across something, I’ll pile it on top of my credenza. By the end of 2016, I hoarded a stack of unread stuff that was more than two-feet high and two-feet wide! After the New Year, I found time to get caught up on my reading and rescue several lost and buried items...

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Teamwork Business Team Meeting Unity Gears Working Concept

Rethinking Concept Tests – a More Human Approach

We do a lot of idea screening and concept tests. The typical approach is to present possibilities to end-users in a survey, ask a bunch of diagnostic questions, and see what sticks. The most common questions are things like “purchase intent,” “meets a need I have,” “belief that the product will perform as described,” and so on.  This winnowing process may be necessary depending on the...

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What You Don’t See Can Kill You

What You Don’t See Can Kill You

Blind spots are everywhere.  The most familiar are those related to your car such as that zone you can’t see in the rearview mirrors when driving.  (Personally, I still can’t see that zone even after unnaturally turning my head over my shoulder.) We also have mental blind spots.  There are aspects of our personalities of which we simply are not aware but probably drive others...

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