Innovation Ideation & Prototyping

Create an Inspiring Environment

Describe the goal of the Dare phase. Understand the value of co-creation. Describe tactics for ensuring successful participation and co-creation.
  • Dare to Dream
    • Before the steps in this section, should have completed two things
      • Defined the scope of your innovation project through a charter
      • Identified the needs and opportunities of your customers through archetypes
    • This stage is about “divergent thinking” IE creating choices
      • Should include all people identified in your role map created as part of steps in the “Innovation Basics” module
    • In this step, its best to gather all the key decision-makers and influencers in person and “dare them to dream”
  • Getting in a Room Matters!
    • Innovating in a vacuum is a bad idea - its important to come together
    • Introducing real change requires adoption from multiple parts of your organization - stakeholders should feel as though they were part of the innovation process.
      • This is called “co-creation”
    • Other benefits of in-person and live Dare working sessions:
      • Mood - you can control the environment
      • Quantity - this is about ideation and divergent thinking. Surface ideas now, converge them later.
      • Diversity - there should not only be many ideas, but they should be as different and eclectic as possible
      • Inspiration - this sort of free-thinking, exciting event can help relieve the pressure of the daily grind
  • The Art of the Dare Agenda
    • Icebreakers - warm up exercises to signal to participants this isn’t a normal day
    • Surprise guests - helpful for participants to hear from outsiders - subject matter experts, professors, customers, artists, etc. Goal is to shock the room with knowledge of trends and research and other insights
    • Intro to the customer - talk through the archetypes you developed. Personify them with images and hang them on the walls.
    • Ideation and prototyping exercises - spend 90-180 minutes generating ideas
    • Pitch the ideas at the end of the day, have participants pitch their ideas as though they’re pitching investors
  • Love the Logistics
    • Invest time thinking through the details to make your events impactful and memorable
    • Space
      • Need windows, and its okay to remove chairs
      • Best to get out of the office and find a different space
      • Lots of space to move around is ideal
    • Ambiance
      • Planning the event should feel like you’re planning a party
      • Consider music, a theme, decorations, food and celebration, dinner after the session, etc
      • Take any opportunities to create surprise
    • Facilitation
      • Exercises that you manage during your Dare event will involve small group breakout exercises that require facilitators
      • Good facilitators are:
        • Energetic, and motivates the team to stay engaged and excited
        • Plugged in, and familiar with the goals of the project
        • Conversation starter, to quickly eliminate confusion at the start of a new exercise
        • Good listener - they should know its not just about their ideas
        • Dot connector - able to list to disparate connections, synthesize them, and raise questions to keep the conversation flowing

  • Purposes of Dare phase: unleash collective creativity, suspend disbelief, and dream up the way things should work
  • Prioritize co-creative activities because diverse opinions power new and creative solutions
  • Immersing all stakeholders in a process of innovation in which all voices are heard is the best way to ensure a successful outcome when designing ideation workshops

Ideate in Teams

Describe how to prime your audience for co-creation. Describe how to inspire your audience to stretch their imagination. Define the purpose of job stories.
  • Warm-Up: Rules of Play and Icebreaker
    • Goal of the first few minutes of a co-creation meeting is to signal that the meeting should be more creative, dynamic, and action-oriented than usual business meetings
    • Some “Rules of Play:”
      • Headlines not Stories - acknowledge that everyone has a lot of experience - there’s no need to take up a lot of airtime establishing credibility.
      • Suspend Disbelief - tendency when you hear bold ideas is to shoot them down with reasons why it won’t work. Dare sessions are about divergent thinking, so suspend disbelief
      • Question Everything - At a dare event everything is on the table to be re-imagined or thrown out
  • Share Your Futurecast
    • Set the stage with some context about what’s happening in the world and how it relates to your company and customers
    • Hit on a combination of external factors that create change
    • After sharing your predictions and compelling case for change, invite a conversation around the theme of “What might happen if we wait…” or “In 15 years, our customers will want…” - Document the ideas on the whiteboard
  • Meet the Customer
    • Use your discovery process and conclusions as a point of inspiration
    • Craft the report to this group as a way to illuminate the needs and opportunities of your customer that are surprising
    • Frame as, “Five Thinks You Didn’t Know About Our Customers”
  • Darling Disruptors
    • Share stories of best-in-class companies and organizations solving relevant problems
    • Consider “What can we learn from company X to solve our problem and achieve our vision?”
    • Examples - doing things just in time like Uber, or completely connected like Disney
    • At the end of these activities, walls and windows should be canvassed with ideas, doodles, sketches at the “imagine if…” level
  • Job Stories
    • Next step is to connect these big ideas to the task at hand: transforming the experience of your customers
    • “Jobs to Be Done” process - idea is to define as many jobs or tasks that your customer needs to complete using a single sentence in the following framework:
      • When I ____ (situation), I want to ____ (motivation) so that I can ___ (outcome).
    • Examples:
      • When I am traveling with my family, I want to make sure that we have everything we need for the kids so we don’t have to buy things when we get there.
      • When I travel internationally, I want to feel like I have enough so that I can feel like a local and not a tourist.
    • This is similar to the more traditional “user story.”
    • Spend 30 minutes with participants creating a list of job stories
    • Once done, two parts of the innovation process are done:
      1. Thinking outward about external forces that offer inspiration on how things transform in the future and
      2. Clarifying the needs and desires of your customers

  • Prime your audience for ideation by starting with creative warm-up exercises that get people to think outside the box and have fun
  • Inspire your audience to stretch their imagination by sharing inspirational stories of innovations relevant to your organization and customers
  • How do “Job Stories” help your team succeed? They help you embody your customer and understand their situation, motivations, and goals, which will then help inspire new products or services

Build Prototypes and Pitch Your Ideas

Define what a prototype is. Describe the value of a minimal lovable product (MLP). Summarize how to prototype.
  • What Is Prototyping and Why Is It Important?
    • Prototype - a first pass, a simple sketch of an idea you want to implement
    • This stage involves asking participants to sketch out solutions
    • People of all backgrounds should create prototypes because:
      • Prototypes make concrete the ideas in our heads
      • Prototypes are check and fast
      • Prototypes heal creators take ownership of the solutions
  • In Search of a Minimum Loveable Product
    • Minimum Viable Product (MVP): create something big enough that the first product is a sound launching pad for it and its next generation and the roadmap that follows, but not so small that you leave room for a competitor to get the jump on you.
    • Minimum Loveable Product (MLP): advocated by Salesforce, an MLP is different in that an MLP focuses on the minimum number of features needed to maximize love from a small population of core, ardent users.
    • By designing for your most loyal customers, you’re one step closer to ensuring immediate adoption.
  • How to Prototype
    • Key is to convince people that everyone can prototype, most will assume that since they aren’t full-time product managers, designers, engineers, etc, that this isn’t something they can do.
    • Example prototype below

  • Pitch and Prioritize Your Ideas
    • Effective way for groups to hear all concepts generated in the prototyping phase is to hold a pitch contest
    • Each group has 1-2 minutes to present a compelling business value
    • Each presentation should speak plainly to a customer need and be exciting, believable, and valuable
    • Once the contest is done, each participant can silently vote for their favorites, the concept with the highest vote count wins
  • Once the Dare meeting is over, remember to circle back with:
    1. A list of who participated
    2. Summary of the process and topics covered
    3. Final ideas presented and top concept chosen
    4. Lots of pictures/video showing the process

  • A prototype is a low-fidelity manifestation of an idea, meant to be tested
  • You should create a Minimum Loveable Product (MLP) versus a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) in order to truly delight your most loyal customers and ensure immediate adoption, versus solving the problems of all customers, some of whom may be hard to reach
  • Tactics that will help you rapidly prototype your MLP include using visual icons to express functionality, like a magnifying glass for search