Innovation Games: Choose your own Problem Adventure
Welcome to the innovation games! Every decision shifts the possible futures and each step holds risk and reward in tension. Step up, and embark on an adventure into unknown territory.
Think you’re in the wrong place?
You most certainly are not! Intrapreneurs are a company’s secret innovation catalysts. They have the potential to initiate company-wide quakes of creativity and agility. The wave of change and growth builds through the ranks as each intrapreneur brings their ideas and experience to the fore.
As the games begin, the intrapreneurs set off on a journey. At each intersection, a choice must be made. Find downloadable resources to help you here. Let’s go!
Step 1: Choose a problem to solve
One of the first things an Intrapreneur does is establish a problem they want to solve. Chapter 2 of the KICKBOOK is the perfect starting point to find an ideal problem. Such problems are the basis of all successful companies; potential customers face a regular problem until someone figures out a way to solve it.
One company might solve the problem of sky-rocketing fuel prices by developing energy efficient, self-charging vehicles. Another company might leverage online communities to connect language learners with teachers to solve the problem of learning another language without being able to travel.
Questions to ask here would include; “What problem does my company face on a regular basis?” or “What problem do my clients all seem to face?” The KICKBOOK has a comprehensive Persona Template to inform this stage.
Now, choose which option best applies:
a) Start with “Why?”
Sometimes we have too many ideas and struggle to choose the best one. In these cases, it’s time to ask, as the infamous Simon Sinek does; “Why?” Why are you in business? Why do you believe in this cause? Why do you want to dedicate your finite time to this particular adventure?
Once you know why you’re in business, search for a potential problem that connects with your “Why”? Intrinsic motivation can help push an intrapreneur through the ups and downs of innovating. So, what lights you up? What makes your heart jump? Then move on to Step 2.
b) Personal Pain Points
Other times, we can’t seem to come up with something that captures our attention. Start by making it personal. What issues are you dealing with? What pain points do you face in a work or personal context that are either frequent enough or deep enough to warrant a solution? Do you struggle to eat well when working long hours? Do you hit your greasy bike chain on your pants legs every day? Do you waste paper in the office by having to print duplicate copies of contracts and employee information?
Once you have a personal pain problem that needs solving, move on to Step 2.
Step 2: Go for a walk
This one is simple and applies to everyone; get out of the building. Go for a walk and find some potential customers to share your solution with. The KICKBOX Storyboard template is a great way to visually express your solution. However, having a problem that you feel needs solving is not enough and staying in an echo chamber is a slippery slope to “Wasting Your Time” cafe.
To validate your solution or idea, you must present it to people outside your department or company to gather honest feedback. The KICKBOOK has all the questions and specifics to cover in these initial customer interviews. Take your results and proceed to Step 3.
Step 3: Is that the finish line?
The Problem Adventure is seldom simple, linear or quick. Often, the journey hits unexpected walls, the bottom falls out from under you or the customers find suitable solutions elsewhere. So the finish line is sometimes also the start of lap 2. Choose which one applies to your journey:
a) Problem validated by external Customer feedback
If potential customers are willing to pay and keen to purchase your solution, you have a rollercoaster of product iteration to hop onto. Best of luck and may the force be with you! Make your way back to Step 1 as soon as possible.
b) Problem invalidated by external Customer Feedback
“Life’s too short to build something nobody wants” - Ash Maurya.
If your interviews reveal a lack of interest or sufficient solutions in the market, you have another choice to make, go to Step 4.
Step 4: Keep on keeping on!
Having an idea invalidated might seem like failure, but on the journey of innovation, it is an answer in itself. It illuminates parts of the map to reveal new possible routes to explore. Choose which option best applies:
a) Dig Deeper
Make an even better solution that knocks the competition off their feet. Return to Step 2 to understand your customers even better and ideate on ways to impress with more meaningful, cost effective and efficient solutions.
b) Loop Back
Return to Step 1 and mine for other problems afflicting your potential customers. Remember, the innovation race is more a Grand Prix than a 100 meter sprint.