Monday, February 07, 2011

Obstacle to Innovation #3: Information deficit – “We haven’t really done our homework on that”

How often have you seen two camps of people form during creative team meetings?

In one group are managers that demand a penchant for action. If in doubt, they say, fire first then aim.  They represent a whole cohort of managers who were raised, trained, mentored, and rewarded because they focus on action and execution above all else.

The other group claims to be more sensible.  They are the voices of reason.  They resist relying on trial and error. They must first take the time to answer a plethora of questions, consider a cornucopia of options, and gather a ream of data. In fact, this group criticizes the first group as people who “jump into action before they understand what the real problem is.”  To fact-checkers, the action group may be just concocting a solution – probably the first idea they came across – and executing it without even knowing if it actually addresses the underlying problem.

As you can guess, this conflict is happening in far too many health, science, and technology organizations.

The N-of-8 process helps address the needs of both groups.

Without the right preparation and planning, a brand team can waste an incredible amount of resources driving down the wrong path. Yet, you can lose valuable time and market position if you allow this obstacle to innovation to avoid the risk and responsibility of innovation.

Like a doctor who must diagnosis before prescribing, treating, or operating, an N-of-8 effort must first define the key questions – then move forward-fast to create the solutions.

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