At the FDIN conference on Breakthrough Innovation yesterday, I learnt about a more precise and reliable way to identify and engage withÂ influential lead usersÂ to generate Breakthrough Innovations that really deliver brand growth. The presentation from TNS, highlighted an approach which can help you to screen for and work with people who are both “connectors” and “new consumers” in your target category (e.g. mobile phones, coffee, soft drinks etc.). A lot of the thinking here comes fromÂ books suchÂ as The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell (incidentally a pretty good read) but also from consideration of the “adoption chasm” wherby many products used by early adopters never make it to the massÂ market.Â So, what should you look for to identify “connectors” and “new consumers”?
- Have a big social network and act as hubs within it
- Tend to have more friends
- Talk about new things they’ve found
- Are curious
New Consumers (for a specific category)
- value authenticity and originality
- are well informed and care about the category
- are individualistic (they want things done “my way”)
- are time poor
- are socially responsible
By using a screening questionnaire against these traits it is possible to identify “future shapers” for your category. Typically “future shapers” are much more likely to identify ideas for future brand growth than “early adopters” who are often quite fad driven and can drop new ideas very quickly. Some stats were presented showing that thereÂ is a good correlation between high “future shaper” rating for a product idea and actual brand growth, whereas, thereÂ is a poor correlation between “early adopter” rating and brand growth. If it is true, they are really onto something, given how unpredictable Breakthrough Innovation often is!
You can use “future Shapers” in two ways, as participants (as opposed to traditional market research respondents) in idea generation and development/screening or you can engage them fully in your innovation task. TNS have found it best in engaging “future shapers” to give them thinking time (1 week) to bat around and develop ideas with their friends and they have found it useful to incentivise the idea generation with prizes.
Someone asked an interesting question about how you could reach and engage these “future shapers” if you were in an SME and TNS suggested that these people would be the people whoÂ are most likely toÂ be passionately engaged with your product or service category. It was suggested that if you filter the responses and comments on your website with this in mind, you could identify and engage this sort of customer.
I liked the sharper focus this approach gives in terms of clearly targeting the most useful lead user profile. I’ll be getting some more informaton from TNS over the next few weeks and will post and update when I do.No comments
I saw an interesting post in the Putting People First blog on user-led innovation. NESTA, the UK’s Science and Innovation body, has published a paper The New Inventors on how users are transforming products and services. According to NESTA:
User-led innovation â€“ where users play an active part in the development of new or improved products and services â€“ is exploding: proliferating digital technologies mean that weâ€™re all potential innovators now. New firms based on user-led innovation are being sold for hundreds of millions of dollars only a few years after being founded.
Policymakers have remained somewhat sceptical about the importance of user-led innovation. But if the UK is to harness this new wave of invention and creativity, it needs to develop world-leading policy in support of user-led innovation. This means being more aware of the impact of new legislation on user-led innovation, and establishing a forum to ensure that policymakers hear directly from these new inventors.
Incidentally, I was very impressed by the content and scope of the Putting People First blog. More on this in future posts. It’s going on the Blogroll.No comments