Qualitative opportunity identification utilizes consumers to uncover real pain points, needs, and workarounds to drive innovation towards actual gaps in the market, faster. Involving the consumer earlier in the process narrows the scope of innovation and quickly allows client teams to focus on what’s important: solving REAL consumer problems.
It’s estimated that of the 30,000 consumer products launched annually, up to 95% of them fail. In the CPG industry, that number remains a staggering 80% failure rate.
My hypothesis about this failure has always been that as an industry, we wait too long to check in with consumers to understand what they actually need or want. We simply sit around a room filled with albeit brilliant people, brainstorming based on technology, past successes, or grand ideas – and choose one to pursue. By the time we check in with consumers or show them prototypes, there is barely time to react – not to mention fully course correct. We’re innovating with a blindfold on.
Last year, when we set out to co-create lean and efficient solutions with our clients, we believed that opportunity identification was critical to provide. Because we already know that consumers aren’t brought into the innovation process early enough, it was key to deliver a quick, cost effective tool to allow our client side partners to begin to build this behavior into their organizations and stage gate process.
This lean opportunity identification takes big ideas at the broadest: a category, an occasion, a product form, a needs statement, or consumer type and lets the consumer guide the way. By putting consumers into the real world to show how they currently interact with products, deal with struggles, or solve needs – they demonstrate what is missing and what they truly need. Thus, innovation begins from a point of empathy and understanding, quickly and strategically fueled by consumers.
Instead of using consumer empathy as a buzz word in 2020, it should be what all innovation is built upon beginning with the outset of every project charter. Lean opportunity identification is an effective way to begin to change the culture and behavior to put real consumer needs first. We are happy to share outputs from any of the case studies below:
CBD Skincare (US)
Toilet Cleaning (UK)
Meal Kits (AUS)