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Prioritize users and stakeholder

George Crichlow

I think this is a class I needed. For weeks I’ve been banging my head up against the wall trying to figure out what my thesis is. This week Abby asked us to think about who our primary audience is for our thesis. For me I want my work to speak to innovation consultancies and people interested in creating new things. This is important to me since I want to work in this field once I graduate.

 Thus far I’m playing with the idea of creating a methodology for developing a practice through the lens of culture.  Abby says I need to define what cultural innovation means.

 For me cultural innovation means looking at how culture affects behavior at large. For instance people that use streaming music services rather than buying albums. This to me is a signal that people no longer want to commit to permanent things. We  see this occurring across many industries from the housing market to subscription services like Barkbox where people get new products monthly.

 I want to use this information as a prototype, so that I can help brands develop new products and services that compliment this new reality. There are many companies that need to shift their offer. I want to help them become relevant by creating new products, services and experiences.

 In order to do this I will need to speak with and collaborate with four distinct stakeholder groups. They are visionaries, decision makers, tastemakers and early adopters.

 Visionaries include innovation firms and consultancies that have the resources to define new ideas.  This group includes firms that can reimagine and reinvent categories. They take the strategic lead in solving unclear business problems and then translate that into a product, service or an experience.

Decision makers are companies that are laggers. They are somewhere between 3-10 within their industry and have to make big shifts in their offer to become relevant. Some challenges that they face are:

-       new leadership

-       underperforming products

-       legacy technology

Within this group are CEO’s and brand managers that have to make key decisions to shift the performance of their company.

 The first audience are tastemakers. Tastemakers are people that live on the fringe of popular culture. They are designers, makers and entrepreneurs that see and live in the world in fundamentally different ways from the rest of us.

 And finally there are Early Adopters. Early adopters are people that have a strong affinity for standing out and constantly seek novel things that they can consume. They want to be inspired by people and things and want to make it a part of their lives.

In order to create cultural innovation I will need to speak to and learn from each of these groups so that I can develop new things. I’ve looked up several methodologies from companies like Sparks and Honey. This firm has developed cultural filters to predict how to effectively communicate to millennial.

I’ve also begun reviewing design thinking books that have identified structured approaches for driving innovation like 101 Design Methods by Vijay Kumar, Ten Types of Innovation by Larry Keely and The Back of The Napkin by Dan Roam.

In the coming weeks I’d like to play with some of the tools in this book to develop my own methodology.