Share Your Experience With Product Innovation!

Are you a product strategy professional? Are you involved in product innovation at your company? Are you aware of how your company approaches the product innovation process? If so, I'd like to take this opportunity to invite you to participate in a brief Forrester survey, available here: http://forr.com/ProdInnovation

The survey has three main sections: 1) how your company approaches product innovation in general; 2) whether/how your company embraces the principles of open innovation; and 3) whether/how your company embraces social media/technology/platforms and leverages those tools in the product development process (e.g., co-creation).

The survey should take approximately 10 minutes and will be open at least through the end of this week. As a thank-you for your time, participants will receive a piece of research based on the findings of the survey. Toward the end of the survey, we ask for contact information if you are interested in scheduling a follow-up interview about the product innovation process at your company. Please consider saying yes! I'd love to hear about your success stories as well as more detail around the challenges you face in the product innovation process.

Thank you in advance for your time and consideration. Stay tuned — we'll share some results of the survey on this blog as well. 

Co-Creating Value At Disney World

Happy 2012 to everyone!

I wanted to share a blog by an acquaintance of mine, David Deal, VP of Marketing at iCrossing. A few days ago, he posted about a new co-creative experience in Epcot at Disney World, wherein you the guest develop a virtual thrill ride, then board a contraption that simulates that ride. It's similar to the old Body Wars and Star Tours rides at Epcot and Hollywood Studios, respectively, but this time YOU create the ride, and YOU experience the creation -- including twists, dives and loops. Yeah, that's right: loops.

The thing is, you have to follow the principles of engineering in order for your virtual ride to work. Remember, this is Epcot, not Universal, so there's an educational component here. The introduction to the experience educates the guest about the physics involved with engineering a ride like this. While creating your ride, the program prompts you to make corrections where necessary to allow your car to finish all those twists and loops you've created. Raytheon sponsors the experience, presumably to show kids how awesome and fun science and mathematics are.

Pretty cool, right? I remember taking the Star Tours ride a loooooong time ago, and hearing about how the engineers had to be very very careful to align the motions of the pod with the visuals on the screen to (a) make it look real; and (b) keep people from getting (too) sick. Technology has accelerated to the point where hundreds of these experiences are now created each day (no word on how common motion-sickness accidents are).

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Co-Creation Contests: Q&A With The CEO Of ChallengePost

This is the sixth in a series of question-and-answer blog posts with the CEOs of the vendors included in my recent Forrester Wave™: Co-Creation Contest Vendors, Q3 2011 (blog and report).

Today we’re talking with Brandon Kessler, CEO of ChallengePost. ChallengePost, a New York City-based firm, was identified as a "Leader" in that report.

Doug:          Co-creation contests are a new opportunity for product strategy professionals to solve business challenges, but many people are unfamiliar with them. What is your “elevator pitch” to potential clients about co-creation contests and the benefits they deliver?

Brandon:    ChallengePost challenges go beyond co-creation contests for products and include software development, idea generation, and exciting actions that the public can take to solve a problem with the organization. The challenger gets ideas and solutions, along with tremendous branding and media attention, for a small amount of money. 

 

Doug:          Why should product strategy professionals consider co-creation a business imperative at this point in time?

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Co-Creation Contests: Q&A With The CEO Of Redesignme

This is the fifth in a series of question-and-answer blog posts with the CEOs of the vendors included in my recent Forrester Wave™: Co-Creation Contest Vendors, Q3 2011 (blog and report).

Today we’re talking with Maxim Schram, CEO of Redesignme. Redesignme, a firm based in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, was identified as a "Strong Performer" in that report, based on its Redesignme Connect product.

Doug:          Co-creation contests are a new opportunity for product strategy professionals to solve business challenges, but many people are unfamiliar with them. What is your “elevator pitch” to potential clients about co-creation contests and the benefits they deliver?

Maxim:       We believe in Bill Joy’s vision (co-founder of Sun Microsystems): “There are always more smart people outside your team or company than within it.” A co-creation contest is an extremely efficient and fun way to collect, discuss and elaborate on fresh new insights and ideas. Setting up something similar in an offline environment can be time consuming and costly. A lot of the challenges on our website are initiated by companies that see co-creation contests as the perfect starting point for an innovation process. The ideas collected often count as input for creative sessions, design projects and market research. Besides, joining an online co-creation contest can inspire one’s own creativity and result in commitment amongst a project group or department.

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Co-Creation Contests: Q&A With The CEO Of eYeka

This is the fourth in a series of question-and-answer blog posts with the CEOs of the vendors included in my recent Forrester Wave™: Co-Creation Contest Vendors, Q3 2011 (blog and report).

Today we’re talking with François Pétavy, CEO of eYeka. eYeka, a Paris-based firm, was identified as a "Leader" in that report.

 

Doug:          Co-creation contests are a new opportunity for product strategy professionals to solve business challenges, but many people are unfamiliar with them. What is your “elevator pitch” to potential clients about co-creation contests and the benefits they deliver?

François:    Our clients value three main benefits in leveraging co-creation contests: innovation acceleration, consumer intimacy, and re-empowerment.

Online co-creation communities enable organizations to dramatically accelerate the pace of innovation, bringing down the ideation cycle from months to weeks. Involving external, creative, decentralized points of view provides our clients with consumer-rooted collective intelligence, which is now critical as markets become even more globalized and as marketers need to intimately connect to consumers' unmet needs.

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Co-Creation Contests: Q&A With The CEO Of Jovoto

This is the third in a series of question-and-answer blog posts with the CEOs of the vendors included in my recent Forrester Wave™: Co-Creation Contest Vendors, Q3 2011 (blog and report).

Today we’re talking with Bastian Unterberg, CEO of jovoto GmbH.  Jovoto, a Berlin-based firm, was identified as a "Leader" in that report.

Doug:    Co-creation contests are a new opportunity for product strategy professionals to solve business challenges, but many people are unfamiliar with them. What is your “elevator pitch” to potential clients about co-creation contests and the benefits they deliver?

Bastian:     By providing a social and collaborative work environment, jovoto motivates creative communities and enables them to collaborate, driving better results.  Organizations are able to access these communities and their members to solve creative and innovation needs.

Benefits to product strategy and other professionals involved in the innovation process are:

  • Better results. A vast amount of diverse, independent talent which collaboratively, simply, delivers better creative results.
  • Unlocking the art of the possible. New and refreshing perspectives, filtered through a peer review process, explore a diverse set of solutions. A collaborative process facilitates solving complex problem.
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Co-Creation Contests: Q&A With The CEO Of Hyve AG

This is the second in a series of question-and-answer blog posts with the CEOs of the vendors included in my recent Forrester Wave: Co-Creation Contest Vendors, Q3 2011 (blog and report).

Today we’re talking with Dr. Johann Fuller, CEO of Hyve AG. Hyve AG, a Munich, Germany-based firm, was identified as a "Leader" in that report.

Doug:       Co-creation contests are a new opportunity for product strategy professionals to solve business challenges, but many people are unfamiliar with them. What is your “elevator pitch” to potential clients about co-creation contests and the benefits they deliver?

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Co-Creation Contests: Q&A With The CEO Of Napkin Labs

This is the first in a series of question-and-answer blog posts with the CEOs of the vendors included in my recent Forrester Wave™: Co-Creation Contest Vendors, Q3 2011 (blog and report (for clients).

First up is Riley Gibson, CEO of Napkin Labs. Napkin Labs, a Boulder, Colorado-based shop, was identified as a "Strong Performer" in that report.

Doug:    Co-creation contests are a new opportunity for product strategy professionals to solve business challenges, but many people are unfamiliar with them. What is your “elevator pitch” to potential clients about co-creation contests and the benefits they deliver?

Riley:     Napkin Labs gives companies their own crowdsourcing platform to make their social networks more productive. Our platform is simple enough to launch in minutes and has a variety of apps that make collaboration, brainstorming, and consumer research simple for small businesses and large brands.

 

Doug:    Why should product strategy professionals consider co-creation a business imperative at this point in time?

Riley:     First it was email. Then it was social media. Now it's co-creation and crowdsourcing. Every new communication channel is an opportunity to build customer loyalty and gain insights in new ways. And eventually every company has to do it to remain relevant.

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Forrester Wave: Co-Creation Contest Vendors, Q3 2011

You have no idea how happy I am to type these words: The Forrester Wave™: Co-Creation Contest Vendors, Q3 2011 has been published!

What's a co-creation contest? I'm so glad you asked. A co-creation contest is one type of social co-creation engagement that allows product strategy professionals to involve consumers directly in the product development process. Co-creation contests offer an innovative take on the generic crowdsourcing model to produce ideas, designs, content, or solutions that product strategy professionals can put to use. Typically, a challenge is posted to a community that works individually or collaboratively on solutions, with the best responses earning rewards. The community can consist of a variety of interesting participants, as depicted here:

The problem ultimately dictates the appropriate community to engage -- of which there are many.Vendors in this space generally offer three things to their clients: access to a community, a technology platform on which to interact with said community, and professional services to ensure a successful engagement.

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Crowdsourcing Uses For Google's Forthcoming FTTH Networks

As you might recall, Google is building Fiber-To-The-Home (FTTH) networks in Kansas City, MO and at Stanford University. Google claims it will offer 1 Gbps broadband at a price consistent with services offered by other broadband providers. (The service is currently offered at $49/month to a handful of customers in Palo Alto.) But what will consumers actually do with such a fat pipe? Most assume that question can't be answered until the service is launched.

But Kansas City-based Think Big Partners is impatient. The early-stage business incubator has launched a crowdsourcing contest of sorts to identify apps or services that have the potential to advantage of all that bandwidth. The Gigabit Challenge will award a total of $200,000 in cash and services to the top ideas, with $100,000 going to the winner. Entries must be submitted between October 3 and October 31; a round of 25 finalists will be announced in mid-November; follow-up business plans are to be submitted by mid-December; and the winners will be announced in mid- to late-January 2012 -- right about the time when the Google network should be up and running.

This is another example of the creative use of crowdsourcing, which provides benefits all around:

  • Bright, creative people are incentivized to think twice about the use cases for a 1 Gbps broadband connection -- even those who are not directly linked to this market;
  • Developers who have already crafted ideas on how to leverage this asset have a chance at some early capital and promotional opportunities that could get them up and running quicker;
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