As a trained CPG Marketer your job is to know your product line and category inside and out. You study the competition, evaluate the data and keep an eye out for opportunity gaps. If you’ve done your job well, you and your extended team will have gained a deep knowledge of your category which is indisputably an advantage to running and growing an established business. Yet this very strength can be and inadvertent blinder that holds you and your team back from recognizing and developing disruptive innovation opportunities. It is hard – very hard – to unknow what you’ve worked hard to learn, to be able to see beyond what you know to be true and to re-try to solve a problem you or the team has already investigated.
I recently listened to an NPR story on the Lear Corporation, an $18B tier one auto part supplier who successfully created an Undergraduate Open Innovation Challenge addressing important and real issues facing their business. Bob Humphrey, Director of global innovation at Lear said, “Our teams, because we do the same thing on a daily basis, we get stuck in these paradigms, these constraints, that may or may not exist. By bringing in university students from multiple levels, they don’t see those same constraints. They don’t see what can’t be done." The key to Lear’s success was bringing in fresh, outside perspective. The first year of the Innovation Challenge saw undergrads teams deliver new ways of looking at an old problem with real financial benefits and the start to four potential new patents for Lear.
I fundamentally believe that a core value Mission Field brings to our clients in the Lightening Strike process for upfront innovation is our fresh eyes. By definition we will always be outsiders to your brand team, we’ll never gain the depth of product or category knowledge which will leave us free to solve your problem in potentially unique, innovative and new ways beyond what the internal team may have been able to see. Like in the Lear case, our outside view plus your depth of knowledge can be a powerful combination. Bringing in fresh perspective to solve tough business problems can be just what a team needs to find fertile new ground for growth.
Interested… contact us to learn more about how Mission Field can help you create disruptive product ideas with our fresh eyes and perspective.