Kevin Costner’s character in the movie Field of Dreams hears a voice telling him “If you build it, they will come.” So he builds a baseball diamond in his cornfield and the 1919 Chicago White Sox appear. In 1989. In Iowa.
Weird. But a lot of people love that move.
What I find fascinating is that many B2B companies seem to hear and obey these same voices when it comes to their innovation efforts. “If you build it, they will come.” Yet unlike the movie, for some reason the customers don’t appear after the new solution hits the market.
When it comes to innovation, balancing technology potential and market need is a huge challenge and represents a huge reward. Particularly an emerging market need that clients can’t yet see or articulate. In these situations, your organization needs to be ahead of the market. Otherwise you won’t differentiate yourself. Hello commoditization!
But the ‘if you build it they will come’ approach usually doesn’t work either; being too early is the same as being wrong. Even when the right solution comes out at the right time, it has to have the right path to market that aligns business goals, production, marketing, sales, operations and ultimately clients and society.
Some things to consider:
Most of your innovation efforts should NOT be technology-driven (if you build it, they will come) or market-driven (if they come then we’ll try to figure out how to build it). Instead both sides should be involved from the beginning (is this something worth building?) and tested with real users/clients early and often (let’s build it together).
Disruptive* technology often requires a disruptive business model to deliver.
Even if you have an amazing new solution, you still need to help your users/customers understand why they need it (and need it now), what it is, what makes it different and how it will help them be successful.
What do you think?
©2017 Deliberate Consulting LLC
* 'Disruptive innovation’ is a big topic and it deserves its own discussion!