Stakeholder Ideation: Bridging Insights and Action

Stakeholder Ideation: Bridging Insights and Action

Jeff Seltzer is the Managing Partner at Hypothesis. Contact him at jseltzer@hypothesisgroup.com

Often, we'll include a relatively simple (but important) "homework" assignment for Ideation participants. This encourages participation, facilitates discussion, and helps level-set. In this case, participants each brought in an artifact to represent relevant consumer segments. 

Often, we'll include a relatively simple (but important) "homework" assignment for Ideation participants. This encourages participation, facilitates discussion, and helps level-set. In this case, participants each brought in an artifact to represent relevant consumer segments. 

Too often, market research is conducted, summarized, and then sits on a shelf. On the other hand, forward looking companies understand how to use consumer insights to inform decision making and move the needle. But, that process of creating momentum internally can be challenging. Cross-functional stakeholder ideation work-sessions can help.

In fact, I’m just back from Minneapolis, having conducted a great half-day ideation with 18 client-stakeholders. Like the most successful work-sessions, this one was held “off-campus” to help detach the participants from the typical work-related distractions, and help everyone to focus on the task at hand: bridging consumer insights and actionable concepts, strategies, and tactics. The session is grounded in consumer insights (we call them “Consumer Truths”) and participants are guided through a series of brainstorming exercises, group presentations, and voting to build, develop, and articulate new ideas. In this most recent case, participants created some really great in-aisle innovations that I’m sure you’ll be seeing relatively soon.

Sometimes, creativity means getting your hands a little dirty! 

Sometimes, creativity means getting your hands a little dirty! 

Interestingly, Hypothesis has conducted more ideations work-sessions this year than in the last several years combined including clients in the retail, technology, and entertainment. In each case, the Ideation session was done due to an understanding that for highly strategic projects, you cannot solely rely on the consumer voice for solutions. Indeed, the consumer can talk to you about problems and needs, but actual solutions are often beyond what’s reasonable to expect from consumers. Even if consumers can come up with solutions, they don’t necessarily consider important aspects like brand fit, alignment with business goals, or even what’s realistic. Marketing, Product Development, Finance, and Product Managers – they have the expertise to come up with solutions, but they should be based on the consumer voice. That’s what these ideations sessions are designed to do: develop new ideas grounded in consumer insights.

Ideation involves building on other's ideas. Here, one group evaluates another group's initial thinking before expanding on the concept with more details. 

Ideation involves building on other's ideas. Here, one group evaluates another group's initial thinking before expanding on the concept with more details. 

A key ground rule is "quantity over quality." At least, that's true in the beginning. But, at some point, you need to identify that best ideas to build upon. 

A key ground rule is "quantity over quality." At least, that's true in the beginning. But, at some point, you need to identify that best ideas to build upon. 

These sessions also provide other less tangible benefits, such as creating a sense of ownership among stakeholders for the research, and the ideas generated in the session. There’s also a strong sense of pride of accomplishment as participants work together through the process of creating new ideas. Besides that, it’s a fun and a rare chance for people to work together who don’t ordinarily work together (in fact, the best sessions often include people who you wouldn’t normally consider including, like a creative intern or smart administrative assistant). Lastly, it’s a chance to really let CI Team shine – participants are grateful and often leave with a new found appreciation for the hard work of consumer insights

I'd love to hear about your experiences with Ideation (good or bad). Or, let me know if you'd like more detail on our approach. Look forward to hearing from you. 

 

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