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Innovation Interview: Transforming Ideas into Winning Market Strategies

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Innovation Interview:
Transforming Ideas into Winning Market Strategies
In our Innovation Interview series, each week we
talk to thought leaders, inspirers, and innovators in the industry to pick
their brains about the state of innovation, trends, and what's in store
for the future. This week we caught up with Peter Murane, Founder & CEO, Brandjuice,
to discuss the keys to transforming ideas into winning market strategies.
What is the key to
transforming ideas into market winning strategies?
'
Murane: Only move
your best ideas forward. The ones that excite consumers and customers. The ones
that are deeply rooted in unmet marketplace needs and category trends. The ones
that are connected to your company's competencies and that will build both
revenue and margin. 
How does design
thinking improve innovation?
Murane: We live
in the experience economy so thinking deeply about how the lives of potential
customers 'would be enhanced through innovation must be job one. With
innovation, we can't adopt the mindset of "I'm here to sell you
things" but rather "I'm here in service to you." That service
mindset requires deep listening and observation to feed a thoughtful and
inspired design thinking process built around both possibility and
problem-solving. 
Why are customers key
driving factors in the market success or failure of new products and services?
'
Murane: Customers
have strategic objectives too. But manufacturers often don't include them in
the innovation process until it's time to "sell". That's a mistake.
Your best customers want to be involved. They want you to help them grow their
categories versus being treated as "gate keepers" to the consumer.
'We encourage co-creation of innovation strategy and concepts with select
customers. 
How can innovators
learn how to work alongside the technologies that will shape their
product/service/experience innovations of the future?
Murane: The most
successful innovators embrace new technologies and are always hunting for
connections. This requires an ongoing commitment to exploring adjacent
categories, to building "farm systems" of technology partnerships
rooted in idea sharing and open innovation principles. And it requires getting
out of the office to simply explore through methods like BrandJuice Passport
Days.
How does leadership,
teams, and the environment help empower and accelerate innovation?
Murane: Innovation
strategy has to be aligned all the way to the top of the organization and back
down so that it can efficient and successful. This means innovators and
innovation teams must have executive sign off on an Innovation Charter. This is
an agreement that defines fundamentals of innovation success including, size of
prize, definitions of risk appetite, capital investment parameters, 'role of
acquisitions, brands of focus, categories of interest and, most importantly, a
definition of time frame. Too many innovation teams are whipped around by
changing strategy driven by financial success. They may be innovating too
close-in or too far out to meet the strategic objectives of the company. 
Why is business model
innovation a powerful way to breakthrough? How can companies stop conventional
business models from impeding innovation?
Murane: Companies
cannot stop new business models from entering the market. In fact, of the
biggest problems established companies face is being slow to see and then
adjust to new models and new forms of competition. Think of Marriott facing Airbnb.
Or Dannon and Yoplait taking years to respond to the Greek Yogurt trend led by
Chobani.
Software technologies like Brand VO2 can help companies
identify shifts in the market. 'Monitoring word-of-mouth conversations is
definitely a starting point. More sophisticated companies invest in innovation
structures that allow them to partner their way into new business models or
even have adjacent business created with the express purpose of doing business
differently than the mothership. 
How can open
innovation leaders de-risk external collaborations and usher in more efficient
pathways into their organization?

Murane: Innovations
can be de-risked by investing in transactional learning experiments where key
assumptions are validated using early-stage commerce tests. 90% of innovations
are flawed in some way -- in that assumptions prove to be incorrect. That
doesn't have to mean an innovation is doomed to failure however. In fact,
identifying flawed assumptions in a pre-commercialization phase provides a
tremendous advantage to a company's innovation portfolio and investment ROI.
BrandJuice invented a transactional learning model called Wallet Testing to
support this kind of success based on rapid adaptation based on how consumers
are voting with their wallets. Who doesn't want less risk and more success.

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