Tony Ulwick, founder and CEO of Strategyn, recently gave a webinar entitled, “Why Your Idea Is Worth Nothing, and How to Create Growth Plans That Work.” In this webinar, which Strategyn did in conjunction with Institute for International Research, Tony explained why most ideas do not succeed in the marketplace and presented a framework that can be used to create ideas that customers will embrace. Time constraints prevented us from addressing all the audience questions, but as we promised, we address some of those now. If you were unable to attend the webinar, you can view the video here. The slides are also available for download here.

Q1: For “non-user disruption,” it is difficult to assess initial market size (e.g. iPhone)? What is the best method to correctly predict market size in this case?

A: The objective is to learn how many people are trying to get the job done, but do not have the finances or skills to acquire or make use of the existing solutions. We figure out if these people are underserved and calculate their willingness to pay to get the job done perfectly. Once those things are known, a target for a disruptive platform can be established.

Q2: With the current fast pace of technology and trends, how is it possible to plan for long-term success?

Technology changes all the time, but the job the customer is trying to get done doesn’t. A company that knows how customers measure the successful execution of a job (their desired outcomes) is in possession of a stable set of metrics that make it possible to determine what technologies to invest in to grow company revenue.

Q3: Any strategies for when you have weak middle managers who constantly block progress or won’t deal with problems that need to be dealt with?

This is a common issue and one we will address in our next webinar, to be held in the coming months.

Q4: I have been a proponent of getting input from multiple customers in one industry before launching a development product, but some of our most successful products have been for just one customer.  Any comments?

If you can hit your revenue growth objectives by creating an innovation for a single customer, then do it. If you cannot, then finding other segments of customers that are underserved along the same dimensions would make more sense.

Q5: Our product is typically an ingredient in a system. What are some suggestions on how an ingredient maker can be innovative?

Add to your ingredient to help your customer get a bigger portion of their job done. For example, maybe the ingredient could be used as a conduit to pass useful information from one part of the system to another.

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About Tony Ulwick

Tony is the pioneer of Jobs-to-be-Done Theory, the inventor of the Outcome-Driven Innovation® (ODI) process, and the founder of Strategyn. Philip Kotler calls Tony “the Deming of innovation” and Clayton Christensen credits him with “bringing predictability to innovation.” Published in Harvard Business Review and MIT Sloan Management Review, Tony is also the author of 2 best sellers: What Customers Want and JOBS TO BE DONE: Theory to Practice.

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