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Innovation Menu: Choose and Pick from the Innovation Menu


We are living this reality, continuous updates to our apps, never ending editions of mobiles, and technologies (ex: CD/DVD, and 3G), and not only in electronic gadgets, but in home appliances, cars, and business model. All are being continuously challenged with the newer, more advance version.

But wait, did you know, and many of you feel and sense this already, it is beyond just the product enhancement, in many cases it is the way the product is offered, bundled, created, marketed etc. This is the topic of this article, exploring one popular innovation model. The Doblin 10 Types of Innovation Model; or as I would like to call it and as you will see the Innovation Menu, help yourself!

The Doblin Menu

If you are in a rush, Here it is! Please have a look. This close to 100 innovation tactic will help set you up for one unique strategic advantage. A result of analysis of 2000 successful cases/innovations from the past. The Doblin model was created in the 90s and been ever updated since then.

It is important not only to focus on the ingredients but the ingredient category. The more unique combinations you create, the more you would get ahead of your competition. In essence you should have something looking like the graph below.

The most successful indeed take all these aspects into consideration. The more different types of innovations are combined the higher financial gains achieved.

The Model: A Deeper Diver

The model is broken down into 3 main categories. The product or offering is at the heart of the model. To the left is the Configuration, the how it is built. To the right is the Experience, the how it is delivered.

The Offering

The middle, the Offering, is the most thought of when thinking innovation. However it is not just all about the product, the offering also focuses on the ecosystem it comes in. Take for example Apple, or Google, both provide ecosystem for their mobile devices and carry this experience across platforms (mobile, laptop, smart TV, mp3 player, health app, etc.); thus creating dependence on the brand in the form of added-value services. This is for the Product System.

The Product Performance is the factor closer to the commonly perceived product innovation. In this focus, we customize the product to solve the pain or add a spice to a current product to target a particular niche for example or provide some added feature not there before, think mobile evolution, or it can be that it adds a layer of customization. This is typically weak if on its own as it need to stand out and be distinguished, even so it tends to be short term, capable, and so requires to be bundled with other innovation types. An popular example is Netflix and Spotify recommendation engines and cross device functionality.

The configuration

I chose next to discuss the configuration, as it is the how we create our offering before we offer the Experience. Nevertheless all are unique sources of innovations! For example in Configuration we choosing a profit model can be strategic, with so many right now! We can also innovate and get an edge by outsourcing, finding right equipment to lower production costs is another source of innovation, having a unique process is in itself an innovation. This is the Configuration phase in brief.

Starting with the Profit Model. In summary the deeper we know our clients, the more ways we can get their money smoothly! We are far from being product centric or price centric. For example creating automatic orders for items monthly, or shifting from one time sale to recurrent with special discount/coupons for recurring customers. This takes us to subscription, a new trend leading to customized experience. Also a trend is pay-as-you-go or meter-use such as cloud services, also software-as-a-service such as office 365. All these are innovative profit models beyond the traditional. Some of these have already become dominant and will last for decades unquestioned till new models surface.

The second sub-category, Network innovation, spurs from the interconnected nature of our world today. Finding the right partner can be a major source of innovation in the Configuration process. Finding secondary markets for by-products for example. In some cases collaborating on innovative offering, as it helps share risks of new offerings. Network innovations can be done with allies or with competitors. Another tactic is supply chain integration which can be done vertically, example McDonalds producing their own potatoes in their farms, or horizontally for example by joining competitors and gaining market share.

Structure is the next on the list. Structure is focused on alignment and internal organizing of tangible and intangible assets. Harnessing new technology in a form of innovation, it can lead to a smart factory or a highly efficient HR function. In the smart factory case leading to lower costs, or competitive advantage in the case of HR. Another topic here is outsourcing which also helps focus on unique structure proposition. Incentive systems is another one.

Final sub-category is Process. If this is done right it can lead to decades of advantage. For example patents, proprietary offerings, a resilient process, a high margin process. This is what created your "special sauce". Automation is a growing trend, with its typical predecessor Lean implementation, each can be a source of process innovation.

The following graph shows a graphical sample of the Configuration Innovation category, for all those with time constraints.

The Experience

The experience is the all that related to the customer interaction with all business elements. Innovations in this arena is sensitive, and care has to be taken when rolling out as it has direct impact on customers.

Starting with Service, this directly adds to value perception of the offerings. Making the product easy to use, trial, and enjoy can be key to make it successful. Also Quick troubleshooting; all supports and adds to the offering. Free trials, loyalty programs, and total experience management are some innovations tactics in this sub-category. Amazon prime delivers in 2 hours in metropolis cities for example.

Channel: this can be summarized in getting the right dose of exposure in the right time, and in the right place. Commonly a hybrid between physical and digital experience. Delivery being a facilitator as well. Experience centers, Multi-level marketing, and multi-channels are some tactics here. Direct sales by retailers is an example here, which providing digital marketing experience, and in the same time traditional store experience.

Brand can make a product rise or fall. How we associate different brands leads to capturing or losing market share. The right strategy can make the product a prized product for example special editions of a car or a super-star edition of a mobile. Brand creates intent, meaning, commitment, and so value. Earning valued certification is one tactic here. How many time have we bought a brand just cause we can relate to it or want to relate to its values; whether it is to be economic, or to be unique, environmental or social aware, etc.

Finally and also a key player in the experience category is Customer Engagement. Imagine a brand being the main sponsor for the next Formula-One race! Or the next super-star concert, endless way we can be engaged and sold to any product. This also includes providing digital retail experience with digital dress rooms or virtual reality dress room. Winning products through gamification. Also don't forget some like to wait in tents outside stores for the grand-release, this is another customer engagement.




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