Monday, August 6, 2007

the third eye--seeing opportunity

adam morgan and mark barden, eatbigfish

challengers don’t talk about innovation a lot. they seem to talk instead about a different kind of concept. they seem to talk about opportunity.

howard schultz: starbucks

most of us have to create our own opportunities.

the future is filled with opportunities.

ebay: we are pioneering new communities around the world built on commerce.

so what is the difference between the two words and their underlying associations?

innovation versus opportunities

innovation: technical, specialist, product, functional (a process)

opportunities: entrepreneurial, everyone, anything, emotionaand functional (a way of seeing)

our clients say they need three things: more consumer insight, greater creativity in communications, stronger product/service innovation. oh, and a new media model.

but perhaps what we all really need more of is being open to opportunity.

most of us think we are, but we are innately grooved in our thinking.

in reality . . .

insight>business model>implementation

6 kinds of insight
reflection: the way the consumer/market/brand relationship is now
opportunity: the way the consumer/market/brand relationship could be
foundation: why the company/brand started
success: why it was/is successful at its most successful
product: interrogate the product until it confesses its strengths
staff and culture: if you want to understand a german car company, talk to the engineers

3 examples of insights of opportnity
consumer: zoom in on a micro target as category future
category promises: flipping a core premise
innate qualities and associations with brand: leaning into the negative

zooming in: seeing in a “special interest” consumer target the future of the whole market

perhaps we should operate on the basis that we are all “disabled by modern living": one-handed, distrated, hard of hearing, confused of thought.

a convenience market, a convenience world

why did mcdonald’s start the first drive-thru? military men couldn’t stop to order.

take an apparently restricted consumer and see the future.

1. look at a micro target and see the future
2. flipping: inverting a basic category premise
dirt is bad to dirt is good
3. innate qualities and associations with brand: leaning into the negative
kissing the shadow

malt whiskey: can’t sell it until 10 years old
very young
still young
almost there

arnold schwarzenneger
from builder to premium european builders
more work, better work, at a higher price

so why is it that challengers seem to see these kinds of insights and we don’t?

we are all gorilla-blind. our clients are focused on quarter by quarter by quarter. we fail to meet gorillas of opportunity.

4 key examples of limits on our ability to perceive the opportunity
1. bounded awareness: limits on potentially relevant data points that are used at all
2. selective attention: only focusing on certain things within that available data set
3 functioanl fixedness: limiting preconception about how something (product, medium) is to be used
4. environmental distortion: food psychology and plate size

how do we see each component of our business model?

business assets, category, user, product/service, distribution, key criteria for choice, usage, key measures, sourcing/manufacturing, strategic partnership


chicago 1880’s. soap oromotion involving chewing gum.

stacy’s pita chips. pita chips free while people wait for sandwiches.

perhaps the things we are giving away free are the future of our business.

eric ryan: method
where does your home begin and you end?
a home is a second skin.

i’ve completely recast your relationship with the category.

product/service: towels that can be bathroom curtains

key measures: gross national happiness

ikea purchased from people who are throwing away wood, giving value to something valueless.

1. keep your door open, and welcome the people who knock at it.
red bull

“schools are welcome to innovate in any way they like as long as they have advance permission in writing from the ministry of education."

2. develop some extra pairs of ears. 1000 is a good number.
barclays: through these doors walk the loveliest people in the world
a pull model rather than a push model
everybody wants it.
a ripple within the bigger culture.

3. don’t rely on them seeing your logic

2 kinds of opportunity organization

swot chart
once a year
closed doors
wait for ideas
processes in place
gatekeepers to experimentation

always on
every day
open doors
. . .

marketing and innovation

opporunity is the third eye. marketing and innovation are the other two.

opportunity: business, category, assets, brand, service, product, usage, user

jwt invented the right hand ring.

opening our third eye
when was the last time we systematically looked for insights of opportunity?
When was the last time we really looked for opportunity within the key assumptions of our business?

when you start your own business, you have to create opportunities.

encourage it in yourself
1. realize it is there
2. understand the basic dimensions and scope
3. develop habits that feed it in yourself
4. repeat these in your immediate team
5. build it into your annual planning cycles
6. create a culture that rewards, rather than stifles it

what does this mean for us as planners?

a. help our clients
- surface the different kinds of limits on “seeing” (bounded awareness, selective attention, functional fixedness, environmental distortion)
- bring to life how changing each of these could impact the way that they think about their business
- timing key: their planning cycle, your own response

b. help our own organizations
- are we currently geared to deliver this?

c. but first, look harder at ourselves
how “functionally fixed” are we as planners, for example?

for example: the role of broadcast comms is to communicate the brand positioning.

some other possible roles for broadcast comms
create a justifying narrative for the opportunity idea (de beers)
get news coverage for the viral idea (dove)
build a community (doritos)

functional fixedness about role of packaging:
differentiated standout at point of purchase
treaat it as a piece of dm—how would you get a 12% response rate?
wired into language and culture of briefs, processes, planning cycles

and even for the leader
bill clinton’s speech to the labour party 2006 points to a poll in the guardian newspaper suggesting that 70% of people believed it was time for change

“you should say: of course it is. i’ts always time for change in a great and dynamic nation."

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