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innovation consulting

What is Innovation Consulting? Introducing Innovation as a Service

There’s no denying the appeal of innovation – the word is a huge buzzword these days. But, let’s be honest: the actual meaning of “innovation” is a bit hazy. The same can be said for innovation consulting. Sure, it has something to do with making new things, technological solutions, or maybe updating processes, but that’s about all we can really say. Innovation is more of a frame of mind than anything actually concrete. Right?

Well, we can’t deny that the word “innovation” is somewhat obscure these days. But, at Immersion Active, we strongly believe that innovation is incredibly important – even essential for businesses to survive. That’s why we’re offering innovation consulting.

What is innovation consulting – and why is it important?

When we say “innovation,” what do we mean? At Immersion Active, we see innovation as helping businesses figure out how to create value for the ultimate end user of the products and services that are being sold. It’s all about finding solutions to your customers’ problems.

We use customer discovery, value proposition definition, and business modeling as a way to help businesses evaluate their offerings to create new products and services, or even enhance current products and services.

Innovation helps businesses to understand the customer and to discover their unmet needs, before moving forward with product development. This is all with the goal of finding solutions to ease the pain of customers’ experiences. Businesses sometimes produce products and services based on a great idea and good intentions, but the true customers’ needs can get lost in the shuffle.

It’s vital for businesses to provide the products and services that best meet customer needs. Innovation helps businesses do just that.

Here’s how:

Innovation uncovers customers’ needs

With the evolution of social media, it’s become a lot easier to get the knowledge businesses need. Before social media, when you couldn’t talk to as many customers, you had to pay thousands of dollars for a focus group. It was expensive and hard to do. Now, with social media and the ability to connect with consumers online in efficient and effective ways, you can get that feedback and fold that into your product. This is one avenue to find out unmet needs of customers.

At Immersion Active, one of our guiding principles is “You need to get out of the building.” We believe that, many times, it’s difficult to see the forest for the trees. When you’re on the inside of a company, it’s hard to have a real perspective on how your products and services are used in the real world. The perspectives outside of your building do matter. After all, social media has proven that customers talk about products. And they do more than just talk – they talk to each other, and they share their opinions.

By getting out of their buildings and talking to customers, businesses get to know exactly what consumers want and need. When businesses observe customers in their natural environment, they can see any unmet needs.

Innovation steers product development

At times, businesses move forward with an idea and development, then think it’s ready to go to market. When we assess where a company is in their business planning, we sometimes find that they have taken an ideas-first approach and that customer needs are not being considered in the foreground.

As a service for Immersion, innovation is a way to set up a business to be successful. It provides a business with the information and tools for how to meet their customers’ needs. It’s important for businesses to define who their customer is before spending money to target that customer. That’s why innovation at Immersion Active is such a great complement to our digital marketing team.

Of course, there’s a natural tension between a product or idea moving forward and keeping the customers’ needs at the forefront of the initiative. At the end of the day, though, customer needs should always win out over just getting something out the door.

Customer discovery can play a role in helping you to understand and aim to meet customer needs. There’s a lot of discussion in business today about how important customer discovery is. We believe it’s vital, and it is something we focus on as part of our core process.

It’s the process of finding these customers to validate the assumptions you’ve made about your products and how they’re going to serve your customers. It’s something people need to do – not just once, but on a regular basis.

Innovation helps your company grow in a shifting landscape

The reason customer needs should be studied on a regular basis? They’re always changing. That’s because your customers are constantly changing. In fact, so are your competitors, your industry’s regulations, the weather – your landscape is always shifting.

As we’ve mentioned before, the fact that your product has met customer needs in the past isn’t a guarantee that it will continue to do that in the same way until the end of time. Innovation is necessary to have continued success.

Innovation helps you to stay on the cutting edge of trends. It helps you to meet the changing needs of your customer base. And it helps you to stay a step ahead of the competition. That’s how you grow a company in a landscape that’s always changing.

How to know if your company needs innovation consulting

Still unsure whether or not your company needs innovation consulting? Here are two litmus tests:

  • Do you know what your value proposition is?
  • Do you know your customers’ needs?

At the end of the day, you need to know who you’re marketing to, who your customer is, and the value of your product. If your business can’t answer the question, “How does your product create value, and for whom?” then there’s a good chance you need to innovate.

Want to learn more about how innovation consulting can help? Or still have questions about what innovation would look like for your business?

We’d love to hear from you. Get in touch with us online or at 301-631-9277 for a discussion about how innovation works, and how a proper approach can help your company thrive.

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