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To be great at innovation, you need a great innovation process.

5X your odds of success at innovation

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What is an Innovation Process?

Innovation is a process. It is defined as the process of devising a solution that addresses unmet customer needs. 

A great innovation process enables innovators to conceptualize products and services that they know, with a high degree of confidence, will win the marketplace—BEFORE development even begins.

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The process starts with a deep understanding of the job the customer is trying to get done and the metrics they use to evaluate competing product and service offerings.

By knowing how customers measure value, companies are able to align the actions of marketing, development, and R&D with these metrics and systematically create customer value.

Does your company consistently excel at innovation?

With new product failure rates around 80%, chances are your innovation process lets you down more often than not. Discover how the Innovation process takes the guesswork out of innovation and significantly improves your chances of success.

Over the years, managers have been conditioned to believe that innovation is an inherently random process; that the acceptance of failure must be baked into company culture; and that pivoting and failing fast is the way to make the innovation process more efficient.

We’ve proven that these beliefs are based on a misunderstanding of innovation as a process. The truth is the process of innovation can be executed in a way that delivers predictable, breakthrough results.

Watch: Step-by-step Introduction To The Innovation Process

Why do most companies struggle with innovation?

Innovation is a top priority for nearly every company and yet, new product success rates are still abysmal.

Product teams struggle because: 

  • They disagree on who their customers are
  • They disagree on what a customer “need” is, (e.g., what type of input brings predictability to the innovation process, etc.)
  • They fail to capture all the customer’s needs and instead consider only a small subset, thus leading to incremental improvement at best
  • They fail to quantitatively determine which needs are unmet—and by how much
  • They fail to discover and accommodate segments of customers with different unmet needs
  • They lack the criteria needed to effectively evaluate a product concept

An effective innovation process must overcome all these obstacles. A company must know all the customer’s needs and determine which are unmet before idea generation begins and ideas are collected and evaluated.

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Take the guesswork out of innovation with Outcome-Driven Innovation

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Outcome-Driven Innovation is a strategy and innovation process conceived through a Jobs-to-be-Done lens. The process employs qualitative, quantitative, and market segmentation methods that reveal hidden opportunities for growth—opportunities that often go undetected when using traditional customer research methods.

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ODI has the highest success rate in the industry — a five-fold improvement over the industry average. The process works because it enables you to observe markets, customer needs, segments, and competitors through a lens that brings science and predictability to the innovation process.

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ODI helps you avoid unnecessary pivoting and iteration by revealing all the customers unmet needs before product concepts are defined. This means you can establish product-market fit in the front end of the innovation process—before the development effort even begins.

5 steps of the Outcome-Driven Innovation process

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1. Define your market around the job-to-be-done

2. Uncover desired outcomes

3. Quantify which outcomes are unmet

4. Discover hidden segments of opportunity

5. Formulate and deploy a winning strategy

Turn ODI insights into action

Frequently Asked Questions

What does the innovation process begin with?

According to Tony Ulwick’s Outcome-Driven Innovation (ODI) framework, the innovation process begins with a deep understanding of the job-to-be-done. This approach emphasizes starting with a clear and precise definition of what customers are trying to achieve. The first step is to identify the customer and the job they are trying to get done. This involves gathering and analyzing customer needs and desired outcomes using unique quantitative research methods. By focusing on the job-to-be-done, companies can align their innovation efforts with customer-defined performance metrics, leading to more predictable and successful outcomes.


What happens during the last step of the innovation process?

The last step of the innovation process is formulating the product strategy. This step involves creating a comprehensive plan that outlines how a company will develop and deliver new products or services that align with the identified customer needs and market opportunities. The product strategy ensures that the innovation efforts are effectively translated into actionable steps for product development, addressing the most critical and underserved customer outcomes.

Key activities in this final step include:

  • Defining the Product Features and Specifications: Based on the insights gathered throughout the innovation process, the team specifies the features and characteristics of the new product or service that will best satisfy the targeted customer outcomes.
  • Developing a Product Roadmap: A detailed plan that outlines the timeline for product development, including key milestones, resource allocation, and dependencies.
  • Aligning with Market Strategy: Ensuring that the product strategy is consistent with the broader market strategy formulated in the previous steps, thus ensuring a cohesive approach to entering and succeeding in the market.

By the end of this step, companies should have a clear, actionable plan that guides the development and launch of new offerings, optimized to meet customer needs and achieve competitive advantage.


What are some common challenges companies face when implementing the ODI process, and how can they be overcome?

According to Tony Ulwick’s book “Jobs to be Done: From Theory to Practice,” there are several common challenges and recommended strategies to overcome them:

Understanding and Prioritizing Customer Needs:

  • Challenge: Companies often struggle to identify and prioritize customer needs accurately.
  • Solution: Ulwick emphasizes the importance of using a structured approach to capture and categorize needs. Companies should employ the Jobs-to-be-Done Needs Framework to gather and organize customer insights systematically. This framework helps define, capture, organize, and prioritize customer needs, ensuring that all relevant aspects are considered.

Building Internal Competency in ODI:

  • Challenge: Many organizations lack the internal expertise to implement ODI effectively.
  • Solution: Ulwick recommends creating a dedicated team of internal ODI practitioners who are trained in both the theoretical and practical aspects of ODI. Strategyn offers online education courses for ODI certification to help build this internal competency. Additionally, companies can leverage external support from Strategyn for initial projects while building their internal capabilities.

Overcoming Resistance to Change:

  • Challenge: Shifting to an outcome-driven approach can meet organizational resistance, especially if it involves changing established processes and mindsets.
  • Solution: To address this, Ulwick advises securing buy-in from key stakeholders by demonstrating the value and benefits of ODI. This can be achieved through workshops and training sessions that highlight ODI’s practical applications and successes. Engaging cross-functional teams in the ODI process helps foster a common language for innovation and align the organization towards shared goals.

Companies can successfully implement the ODI process and drive innovation closely aligned with customer needs by addressing these challenges with structured frameworks, dedicated training, and stakeholder engagement.


Don’t gamble at innovation

If you’re ready to launch the next big thing, it’s time to upgrade to Outcome-Driven Innovation. Get in touch to speak with one of our innovation experts.

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