8 things Sochi teaches us about innovation and marketing

So what do the Sochi Olympics teach us?

1. If you build it poorly, your customers will do anything to break free of you.  And  then they will complain.  Loudly.  On social media.

12. Beware of scope creep.  The larger and more elaborate the plan, the bigger the over-runs (and the more hands that come out grabbing for money)

3. Don’t make things so complicated that you forget the simple, important stuff
2 4. Don’t over-promise and under-deliver.  For example, don’t promise “an Olympic experience that exceeds China” and then fail to provide clean running water or enough pillows.

5. Bureaucracy, committees and too many meetings are killers of productivity.  If you want to get more done, involve less people.

6. Create positive advanced buzz (and a lot of it).  In the absence of such positive buzz, negative buzz takes over, infests everything and grows out of control.  Next thing you know, everyone is paranoid and nobody wants to visit, pay or watch.

7. Big egos tend to get exposed in ways that turn off your prospective audience

38. The product can speak volumes for itself…if you avoid the above and simply let it shine.

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The single key to great market research

The single key to great market research isn’t slick research design.  Or some perfect technique.  Or recruiting exact match research respondents.  Or asking just the right questions in just the right order.  Or achieving statistical significance. So what is it?

The single key to great market research is INTERPRETATION.  The ability to understand not just what a customer or prospect says, but what this really means. Here are the facts:
• People rarely know what they want in the first place
• Even if people know what they want, they have a hard time articulating it
• People cannot envision what they do not yet have
• What people say is often not exactly linear to what you should do about it

So how to get around this? When setting up research, focus less on the exact technique or research design and more on who is interpreting it.  In research, you need a seer.  Someone who doesn’t just hear, but that understands. You need to find someone with a sixth sense.

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What Voodoo can teach us about Innovation

Have you heard about Voodoo Doughnut? If not: these doughnut shops, founded in Portland, Oregon, are where people literally line up around the block day and night to get in on what they are serving.    There’s no end in sight to their long lines…or their nationally expanding business.  What makes Voodoo Doughnuts so kick ass? Why are they killing it where so many other doughnut shops struggle? The answers to these questions teach us some key lessons about innovation.

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The secret to Voodoo Doughnut’s success? They draw familiar, beloved ingredients from other walks of life and bring them to the world of doughnuts.  Things like bacon.  Oreos.  Cap’n Crunch. Cocoa Puffs.  Peanut Butter.  Nutella.  Etc.  And now…you can love all those ingredients…in some extremely indulgent, unbelievably delicious, unexpected, totally original doughnut combinations.

BApplied to innovation and new products, this technique is called Parallel Universe.  It’s juxtaposition.  It’s familiar and at the same time it feels totally fresh and new.  Architects do it.  Fashion designers do it.  And so do some very sharp new product innovators. Do you?

Not just another blog

Just what you and the rest of the world have been waiting for – another blog.

Now before you click over to YouTube to check out the latest keyboard cat videos or TMZ.com to see which celebrity has embarrassed himself yet again (yes, I’m talking to you Snooki, Charlie Sheen and the Kardashians), we’d like to take a minute to tell you why we’re here. We’re here to share our thoughts about product development and innovation with you.

We’re here to help you think of the world in new ways.

We’re here to help you find market opportunities you didn’t know existed.

We’re here to help you uncover insights about your customers that open new doors.

We’re here to share news about emerging technologies, techniques, and trends.

We’re here to champion ingenious research, kick ass brainstorming, great design, elegant engineering and flawless execution.

We’re here to question the status quo.

We’re here to make you think.

And finally, we feel we wouldn’t be doing our job very well if we didn’t at least occasionally make you laugh.

This blog is about passing on our decades of combined new product development and innovation expertise. It’s about opening up a window to our world and sharing insights into our successes and failures. It’s about creating a place where we can start discussions and spark new ideas. It’s about giving you a peek into the diabolical minds of our engineers, designers, strategists and researchers.

What this blog is not about is selling you stuff. It won’t be a shameless self-promotion for our people, the projects we complete, or our latest “proprietary process.”

If you’re interested in what we have to say, bring it on and tell us. If you want to add to the discussion, join in. If you disagree, that’s okay. We only ask that you do so respectfully. You can follow us on Twitter @elevationid or connect with us on Linked In and we’ll let you know when we have new information to share. It won’t be every day (hey, we have projects to complete and clients to make happy). But when we have something we find interesting, we’ll share it with you.

Thanks for taking the time and back at ya soon.