Now this may sound obvious. But what people value more they will be prepared to pay more for.
…. But it’s not quite that simple.
Other companies are also looking at providing what people value. So, you have competition!
Getting beyond the obvious things that competitors can also spot, isn’t as simple as asking people - what do you want?
The context around what people value is always changing and therefore the ‘new’ isn’t straightforward to uncover.
Pain points and latent needs.
If you are trying to add that extra oomph to your existing offers, then a great way is to uncover ‘pain points’. This is the industry jargon for a problem, discomfort or inconvenience people have with it. Like a product that doesn’t quite meet the need you have, a confusing product interface or a service issue that causes a bit of stress or uncertainty in your mind.
You can uncover this with structured user research and experience mapping methods and user centred collaborative processes to help explore these needs and develop much better offers. This will keep you ahead of the competition and may allow you to charge more, or at least build customer loyalty.
People can often articulate some pain points and unmet needs but also some are ‘latent’. i.e. they are there but people don’t always realise or know how to express it. There are some great user research methods to unpack these.
However, when looking to develop new ‘breakthrough’ offers that don’t exist yet, you have to look beyond these obvious pains of today’s products and services. But how?
The early bird catches the worm.
If you want to get ahead and stay ahead, you have to look at what’s changing in society and how that is affecting people’s values and behaviours as a result. It may be just within a section of society that you target, or it may be across a broader spectrum.
The challenge is that when these emerge in the mainstream, your competitors, or perhaps even more likely - a start-up, would get there first and perhaps generate IP or at least serious commercial advantage. If you want to be the early bird that catches the worm.…i.e., the company ahead of the rest, you have to look at what’s driving change and how that is emerging in pockets of society that may be affected by these things sooner.
To really stay ahead, you must develop an ‘exploration’ capability. It’s a bit like a gold hunter who is panning for nuggets in a new territory. We must pan for early signals of value in new territories.
… In this process you glean many insights that ‘might be true’. To be more certain you have to share your insights with the people demonstrating those emerging behaviours to see how they react. and where these insights resonate. You might then articulate some ideas and concepts that fit those insights to see how people react. Of course, this must be done in a ‘low fidelity’ way and gradually increase in fidelity’ as your understanding and confidence grows. A classic way to manage risk and build confidence - "progressive reassurance"
Chance favours the prepared mind.
Of course, you won’t hit the mark with everything. Ask any investor in early-stage business and you expect 5-10% of your portfolio to pay for the rest and more.
But it means you are developing ‘memories of the future. Neuroscientists David Ingvar and William Calvin coined this phrase because their research showed that people who think ahead and formulate an idea of what they want to happen, are better placed to recognise the signs relevant to those ideas. Their theory is that thinking about potential long-term.
developments seem to open people’s minds to receiving them; not thinking about them tends to close a mind.
This is true for an organisation, which can essentially become more open to spotting real change as it emerges, A constant explorer mindset, or 'future radar' if you prefer, means you are much more prepared for what’s coming. And it’s not just about new offers. It also means you spot value-changes in general - which can have an eroding or sudden impact on your business or brand. So it’s highly valuable on ‘both sides of the equation. both innovation and risk.
Jam today, Jam tomorrow.
To thrive, innovate and grow you need be good at today’s business as well as tomorrows. And recognise how to manage these differently.
It’s so often that the longer term is compromised by the shorter term. Now I don’t mean that you shouldn’t adjust as you get closer to reality. Iteration is critical. What I mean is Operational Excellence vs Innovation Excellence. So often operationally excellent companies are so optimised to deliver the business of today that they unconsciously compromise their innovation work. They can lack the structure, language, process, mindset, politics, incentives… and sheer hunger - If today’s business is good, why worry about tomorrow?
So, I’ll leave you with a critical question - Do you have a value exploration capability or a plan on how to develop it?