Our studies were built on this model. We will be given a case and asked to draw these three aspects out of the business. It might look simple at the outset. But when you get down to defining what is that unique customer insight that got translated into a multi-billion dollar business, it's not as easy as it sounds.
The case study which stands out vividly in my mind is the (very popular) Southwest Airlines one, the only airline to have been profitable ever since its launch. So what differentiated SW from the rest? What was their unique insight? The answer might look like something to do with giving seats cheap. Sure, but how does that make you profitable?
(SW's unique insight was to compete with cars or rather ground transportation. Click here to read a case study on SW I discovered recently)
We used to dissect a bunch of businesses and arrive at the Insight-Idea-Innovation matrices. Finally, we had to do this project on creating a new product from scratch. My project partner Smitha and I worked on this idea (it was her insight) of using heat generated from refrigerators to be used for warming up food. We did a neat job by speaking to housewives, meeting consumer durable manufacturers and dealers. Many thought we are a little 'off', but hey who was observing the wasted heat that your fridge produced. The project was a success.
I still use the 3i matrix when I work on new ideas and projects. You should try it too.
Insight: that deep unique knowledge you have about a consumer.
(music on the go, simple to use)
Idea: the concept that you can translate this innovation into.
(a music player that fits your pocket)
Innovation: using the concept to convert the idea into an innovative product.
(an easy to use, mp3 player that can store up to 1000 songs)
Today, if you have a new product in mind, there are multiple ways you can take it to market.
Apart from Kickstarter, Quirky is an interesting disruption in the NPD market. It's simple - submit your idea, get voted and if Quirky selects it for manufacturing, you get royalties for life. You should check it out.
PS: here's an idea I am bullish about. Forgive me for the poor illustration, but I am sure you get it.
Insight: men have a tough time maintaining beards and goatees.
Idea: an easy to use tool that helps them without the fuss and tension of a wrong nick.
Innovation: a stick-on goatee/beard shape available in different designs. Stick using water, shave around it.
I submitted the idea on Quirky, but have not received enough votes to get it to the next level. Someday...