At S G Wolf we believe the approach needs to be customised to fit the client.

That doesn’t mean we come to you empty-handed. There are 2 common pillars that we tend to use.

We chose these because they work … but they also promote a different way of thinking about innovation. Being different is part of innovation, if we are all the same then where is the innovation?

1. Jobs-To-Be-Done

Jobs To Be Done, or JTBD, is an approach to innovation and product and service design that has been popularised by Harvard Professor Clayton Christensen (but the idea pre-dates him and he is happy to credit the originator).

In JTBD terms a customer “hires” a product to get a job done. The concept of a Job within this approach is critical – don’t think of it as purely functional. There are emotional and social jobs too.

JTBD also has an aspect of making progress. In fact the Forces of Progress are a big part of understanding what gets innovation accepted in the world and what blocks it from proceeding.

Using JTBD theory can explain the progression of product innovations, like listening to music via record, cassette, iPod and Spotify, or creating documents via typewriter, word processor and Google docs. It is also a useful framework for understanding how innovations go from early adopter to mainstream – linking JTBD and Forces of Progress with the Diffusion of Innovation model, popularised by Geoffrey Moore in Crossing the Chasm, is a useful way of thinking about the spread of innovation.

2. Lean Thinking

Lean Thinking is a customer value optimisation approach that has its origins in the Toyota Production System but has been extended from manufacturing to other industries, including software and technology (through the highly acclaimed book by Eric Ries, The Lean Startup).

We use 3 principles from Lean Thinkling that we have found useful in operationalising innovation:

1. Eliminate waste, where waste is defined as anything not adding value to the customer. Seems obvious to say but adding features to a product that are of no value to the end customer is NOT innovation!

2. Improve flow, this could be seen as the inverse of reducing waste in the sense that it is all about streamlining activities to improve the end-to-end flow. Taken another way it can be termed thinking big picture not sub-optimising.

3. Continuous Improvement, in the context of innovation this might be seen as the little things that help ensure an innovation maintains its freshness and always seeks to delight the customer.

Learning What Works

As you can see we use different tools and techniques … being adaptable is key (ref Darwins Theory on Evolution) … and learning what will work for you is the utlimate goal to drive value through operationalising your smartest ideas.