This is the first and most crucial principle. You need to empathise with your customers, understand what drives them and gets them up in the morning. You do not achieve this by sitting in your office and staring at the wall; you need to get out there and share those experiences. Companies such as Whirlpool have been doing this for years, as described in this Fastcompany article.
Work your way through our slide deck and then download the "method card" for "See and Experience". The "Show-and-Tell" technique is similar to the methods used by Whirlpool and other customer-focused companies. You can even collect evidence using your smartphone for candid shots and short videos, just make sure your subjects are comfortable with the idea. The video lessons for the techniques can be found on the same page as the method cards.
Observing and interviewing customers in real-life situations is great, but it has to be translated into something tangible. You need to document what you have found out, so that you can discuss and debate it with your team and colleagues. You do not have to be a graphic artist to put something together. The Method card has at least 7 tools for you to use, our personal favorite is Journey Mapping, but each tool will provide additional insights.
The slide pack can be viewed here.
While you used "Dimension and Diagram" to get ideas and insights out there, much of that information is textual. You can expand on that by building images of the proposed product and storyboarding the customer using the product and what would make it engaging for them. The Method Card invites you to produce 2- and 3-dimensional models of the product. If you are working on a service, don't feel disheartened, you can still express part or all of the service tangibly - for instance, you could mock up the way the service centre should appear and how customers are made comfortable. This could be a graphic or even a physical space that can be tested for comfort and practicability. The slide deck can be viewed here.
Ideally you should be questioning and reframing your concept from the get-go. If you are improving an existing product or service you may not require radical innovation. If your competitors are bearing down on you, you will have to come up with something disruptive. Questioning and reframing upsets the status quo, and gives rise to an Uber or an AirBnB. This is probably the most challenging principle, as it is hard to break the mold. One of our techniques is to workshop actual innovative companies and analyse what they did to disrupt their market.
This is where you put your ego aside and get feedback, ideally from your potential customers, but anyone is free to comment. By now, you will have invested much time and thought into your innovation and may resent any negative comments. You have to evaluate them objectively and test that you have not overlooked something vital in getting to this stage. This is where you are getting ready to take the product or service to market and here is your opportunity to make some key adaptations. Do resist unnecessary change and remember that you should be delivering a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) to launch as quickly and successfully as possible. Watch the slide deck and study the method cards.
While "Pitch and Commit" sounds like you are getting ready to launch, you should be pitching to anyone who will listen from Day One. You need to believe in the concept yourself if you want others to believe too. We all know about the " elevator pitch" (which is one of the methods we use); use it and refine it at every opportunity. You would have come up with a Value Proposition even before you started working on the concept; now you need to add hard facts with some financials to justify the product's reason for being. Check out the slide pack and method cards.
We do not claim to have all the answers, and there are many other methods you can use to get your bright idea to a workable and viable product or service. An additional resource you might like to visit is Stanford's bootcamp for design thinking, where they have additional resources to get you thinking creatively. Enjoy the journey!