Innovation Games as a Market Research Technique


Organizing and Using Innovation Games

There are two ways to organize Innovation Games. The first is based on the kind of understanding you seek. The second is based on the context in which you are going to apply the game.

Organizing Innovation Games

Table 1.2 organizes the games by your goals for customer understanding. Note that some games appear more than once because these games are useful in more than one context.

Table 1.2. Selecting Games that Best Meet Your Goals

What do you want to understand?

Consider These Games

Unmet and/or idealized market needs.

Although all Innovation Games provide insight into market needs, these games are specifically designed for identifying unmet and/or idealized market needs, which can then be used as input to strategic planning and the identification of new business opportunities.

Product Box Me and My Shadow Buy a Feature Give Them a Hot Tub Remember the Future

Products and services usage and relationships.

Successful products evolve over time, typically becoming richer and more customized to meet the needs of increasingly diverse markets. A key aspect to managing this evolution and tapping into new markets is gaining a better understanding of how customers use existing products and services and how they are related to other products and services. These games will help.

Spider Web Start Your Day Me and My Shadow Show and Tell The Apprentice

Product and service functionality.

As Theodore Levitt wrote in his seminal work The Marketing Imagination,[1] customers don't want a drillthey want a hole. Clayton Christensen echoes this theme in The Innovator's Dilemma[2] by reminding us, "We hire products to do jobs." These games will help you better understand the jobs your customers are striving to accomplish.

Product Box 20/20 Vision Me and My Shadow Speed Boat Start Your Day The Apprentice Buy a Feature

How to shape your product for the future.

Every company spends a lot of time thinking about the future of its products and services. Unfortunately, all too often they don't explicitly include their customers in the conversation. These games provide a way for your customer to join you in shaping your futuretogether.

Remember the Future 20/20 Vision Buy a Feature Prune the Product Tree


[1] Levitt, T. The Marketing Imagination. New York, NY: The Free Press, 1986.

[2] Christensen, C. M. The Innovator's Dilemma. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press, 1997.

Four Ways to Use Innovation Games

This book details four specific ways in which you can use Innovation Games. The first way is directed market research, or market research that is designed to answer specific questions with data that supports taking action against these data. Examples of directed market research include determining what features should be included in a specific product release or specific pain points of target markets (including, but not limited to, existing customers, prospects, competitors, channel partners, and so forth).

The second is customer-centric innovation, in which you use the games to uncover previously unknown market needs. As you'll see later, Innovation Games are especially effective at creating opportunities to learn "what you didn't know that you didn't know," which in many ways serves as the heart of innovation.

The third way to use Innovation Games is generating the rich understanding of customer needs and desires that feed the various requirements techniques we use to manage products. User personas, scenarios, and use cases, assessing feature importance through Kano analysis, or creating "nonfunctional requirements" are all importantbut all come after the insights that lead to innovation, shaping them and defining them. Innovation comes before requirements, and playing Innovation Games with your customers creates richer requirements.

The fourth is providing support and strengthening the ongoing relationship that you have with key customers through existing channels such as customer advisory boards, user groups, and/or customer conferences. Instead of subjecting your customers to a boring afternoon of PowerPoint presentations, you can use Innovation Games to engage and energize them in a way that drives innovation.

These areas are all linked through the use of Innovation Games. For example, although you may have a specific question (directed market research), playing a game is almost certain to provide you with new information, some of which may drive innovation (customer-centric innovation). Part One starts with directed market research, because the process for using Innovation Games to support directed market research can be leveraged by the other motivations.



Innovation Games(c) Creating Breakthrough Products Through Collaborative Play
Innovation Games: Creating Breakthrough Products Through Collaborative Play
ISBN: 0321437292
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2006
Pages: 144
Authors: Luke Hohmann

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