Innovation isn’t just for things – Part V

How we got to where we are:

Part IPart IIPart IIIPart IV

Go ahead and catch up, you know you want to… And, admit it, there’s time to kill while you count meaningless hours before it’s time to go home.

Read it? Good.

Summary for the terminally lazy

[or executives as we know them]

Stunning lack of innovation in the one asset that can appreciate with investment: people.

3 critical questions:

  1. Who is your ideal employee?
  2. What proportion of your workforce could be classed as your ideal employee?
  3. How do you increase that proportion?

In the previous installments

[which we know you’ve read… honestly… we trust you]

we’ve answered question 1: Those employees most likely to maintain and grow their productivity in the future and who have most potential to increase value for our future customers. And, we’ve begun to turn our attention to question 2, but found that it’s not going to be as easy to answer, because it requires less focus on your workforce, and much more on your ideal customer.

So. Think of your ideal customer. Who are they?

[‘the one with the deepest pockets’ is NOT a permissible answer – unless you’re a consultant]

What are they thinking? What are they doing? Got them? OK. Now, walk forward into the crystal ball that BadConsultant has given you. What will they be thinking? What will they be doing? What challenges will they be facing? How does your product

[yes, or service, we can’t be bothered retyping it every time]

help them either a) meet those challenges; or b) have confidence that they could meet those challenges? In short, what will you be doing that will make your customer choose to have you in their life?

Did you get an answer? Probably not immediately because, sad to say, thinking customer-first isn’t the place that most businesses and leaders go – they might say they do, but we find when they say that… well… er… they usually haven’t.

[BadConsultant will be pleased to tender a Statement of Work to teach you what to do about that]

In short, if you can’t start by clearly and simply stating the value that you will bring to your future customer’s life, then any innovation relating to your workforce is little more than a best-guess effort, and you’ve got absolutely NO chance of successfully answering all three questions.

If you haven’t got a clear statement of your future customer value then reading on might feel pointless

[like many days at the office]

but try it anyway – you’ll at least get to see why it’s so important.

OK, so you’ve got a clear and simple statement of your value. Let’s go back to Crap Corp®, the company we introduced to you in Part III. As a reminder, here is their laudable purpose:

Elevate the state of humanity through integrated product offerings that maximize our customers’ return on porcelain attendance investment

Crap Corp are worried about their future crappers. They’ve fully grasped the import of the answer to question 1. So, now they’ve turned their attention to question 2. And after some semi-scatalogical visioning of their customers in action, using the urinals with custom CrapCorp100 Blackberry Mounts, they’ve boiled down their future customer value statement, a snappy, easily memorable summary of their more loftily-stated purpose:

Less down-time in your break-time

By definition, any product that facilitates dual-processing multi-tasking while in the bathroom will add value to the customer

[personal shaker, anyone?]

OK? It’s not that painful to do this stuff, it really isn’t!

Take the CrapCorp100 Blackberry Mount, a personal use product, it’s successful – people looooove to browse the internet when doing what comes naturally. But it’s a challenge to always be carrying a 100 around with you and there are inevitably going to be times when a customer encounters a bathroom without the requisite hardware to hand

[stop sniggering at the back]

Noticing this situation when visiting Orlando, let’s say that some bright spark crapper suggests selling the CrapCorp100 to theme parks for installation in every rest-room. It’s a genius move, based completely on the customer value statement above – isn’t the vacation the ultimate break-time, after all? All we need to do is modify the CrapCorp100 to fit in with park brand, a slight move away from the hyper-tech look and feel of the original 100, to something that… well… er… Mickey wouldn’t mind being seen using.

OK. Let’s go.

Who touches the ‘CrapCorp100 Blackberry Mount – Theme Park Version’? Which crappers bring it to life?

Which crappers: design it? build it? market it? sell it?

Innovation. Production. Brand. Face.

There you are: four critical areas, to which we’re going to add a fifth (the über-area, you may say) Culture, without which the others don’t flow.

Those employees most likely to increase value for your future customers will be involved in one of the following five areas:

  • Innovation
  • Production
  • Brand
  • Face
  • Culture

There are at least 4 current sexy-words(®) in that list – though some of you will be scratching your proverbials and wondering why ‘Production’ makes the cut. In later installments, we’ll tell you all about that as well as turning our attention to the productivity side of the equation.

For now, though let’s pause and take in the glory of another day spent demystifying the madness.



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