• Phil Roos

Front and Center: Indispensable Elements that Drive Innovation Success

In January of 2017, I wrote a blog post titled Innovation & Growth in a Tumultuous Age, which conveyed the idea that "disruption is going to happen to us all, and we should plan on it sooner rather than later." Around that time, we were developing a disruptor-led innovation road mapping process called Catapult™ that could help clients not only plan on disruption but leverage any opportunities it creates.


Now here we are, almost 4 years later, sitting in the middle of the biggest disruption in a generation. What I will say today, and what I absolutely believe, is that it's not too late to plan for and successfully innovate amidst the disruption around us.


The critical factor, of course, is how you innovate. More traditional methods may not get you where you need to be given the tumultuous landscape.


So what is missing with common innovation approaches? What does Catapult bring to the party that other approaches like Jobs to Be Done (JTBD) and Outcome Driven Innovation don’t?


To provide some perspective on Catapult and how we think, it is important to understand the key beliefs under which we operate when delivering innovation work:

  1. Consumers buy benefits not products – as the saying goes, they don’t want a drill, they want a hole

  2. You have to look at the entire consumer journey to innovate – not just the purchase or usage stage – as drivers and importance vary at each step

  3. Each target segment is different and needs to be considered separately

  4. You can’t (just) consider what consumers say, you should also look at stated vs. derived importance metrics to unearth real purchase motivation

  5. Consumers can be inner or outer focused – who they are worried about will matter to the innovation effort

You may find similar principles, to some degree, in JTBD and other frameworks; however, at GrowthWorks, we bring two additional beliefs that drive our innovation process and make it disruptor led. Other approaches may touch on these areas, but we go further and make INSIGHT and FORESIGHT integral to our work. This combination is a powerful tool for innovation:


INSIGHT around emotional needs and higher-order benefits drives innovation that resonates

While JTBD puts functional benefits at the core of its framework, with emotional benefits as a potential overlay, we think understanding deep emotional drivers and motivations is fundamental to the innovation effort, not an add-on. Delivering against the highest order emotional needs (think Maslow) is absolutely required to meet changing expectations amidst disruption and create differentiating innovation in today's world.


FORESIGHT and a future-focused lens are required to uncover longer term opportunities

Evolving social, market, and technological dynamics create new competitors, change the way consumers buy and interact with brands, and fundamentally alter the value proposition people will embrace. A key to innovating and thriving in a rapidly changing world is to understand how this disruption will impact your brand and your ecosystem moving forward.


Don't get me wrong ... we like and use aspects of the JTBD model. We actually see job theory as an ingredient that can be enhanced by integrating it with Catapult™ and our INSIGHT / FORESIGHT work to:

  • Push JTBD learning beyond functional needs to a deeper understanding of the higher-order emotional payoff (from insight work)

  • Give us a strong sense of not just what jobs need to be done but how they are evolving based on market disruptions, so we are solving for JTBD today AND tomorrow (from foresight work)

The reality is that the world has changed exponentially since 2017. But the advantages of creating disruptor-led innovation couldn’t be more important than it is now.

What hasn't changed is we believe helping organizations to not merely overcome, but thrive on the changes facing their world and their industries/sectors is a worthy endeavor.


It gives us our sense of purpose, and we’re ready to accept the challenge.


© 2020 GREAT LAKES GROWTHWORKS     contact@glgrowthworks.com   |   220 S Main St Ste 300-301 Ann Arbor, MI 48104

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