Friday, December 18th, we connected a small committee of Innovation executives from different retail, banking and insurance environments around the question: “How to use creativity and unconventional thinking as growth drivers?” We have found that many brands (re-)allocate their resources, time and budget to innovation, due to business models and commercial operations facing pressure in times of the global pandemic.
However, innovation is not the point on the horizon to work to: it’s your customer audience and their shifting needs you should want to (re-)connect with to hold and grow position in the stirred up competitive landscape. Innovation is the tool, or the way to go, if done right. Although there is unfortunately no common one way to go, there are many best practices to learn from or books to read about corporate innovation, lean start up and agile methodologies. But one crucial yet often underestimated element of innovation is the creative, unconventional or sometimes even disruptive idea behind it.
Mathieu Veldhuijzen – Consumer Centricity Consultant at Bol.com, introduced the theme by sharing his journey of managing the Speelgoedboek concept from idea to launch. Together, we exchanged experiences on how to create a creative culture that dares to look beyond data and deepdived into how to inspire, motivate and engage internal stakeholders.
From “doing innovation” to being “customer centric”.
While performing in highly data-driven and data-oriented cultures, one may sometimes forget that behind leads, click-through or buying customers there simply sits a human being behind the screen. A human being living its busy live and doing many other things than shopping, and if shopping, interacts with (many) other brands besides yours too. Mathieu shared how the best opportunities are found by zooming out of business models, sales- and service propositions and into the key motivational drivers of your target audience.
For distinctive customer value to be created, a brand should tap into beliefs, values and needs of their customer. Data brings great insights in who a customer is, what he or she buys and how – but not in why. Using behavioral data to create customer value brings great opportunities for faster, easier, better and more convenient customer journeys and shopping experiences. Adding motivational data is te key to really bring customer centricity into concepts, propositions and go-to-market approaches.
While presenting the Speelgoedboek case, Mathieu gave us an insight in how a digital marketplace like Bol.com generated additional revenue and data value through the rebirth of something nostalgic as a paper catalogue send to peoples homes. The concept was designed to tap into a wide range of needs, wishes and hurdles of both kids and parents as target audience and successfully brought fun, inspiration and convenience in both the customer journeys. Through qualitative research and continuous testing in the concept design phase, the problem solution and product market fit where defined and constantly improved. Yet, the ideas and hypothesis formed up front where grounded in creativity and unconventional thinking.
Data: a blessing or a curse?
We started an interesting discussion whether data is a blessing, or a curse. The opportunities unlocked by data generation and analysis are, without a doubt, a blessing. We do not have to kick in open doors and elaborate more on that statement we believe. However, in the highly data-driven and data-oriented business culture we referred to earlier, creativity and unconventional minds often experience push-backs due the lack of facts, figures, evidence and proof for their ideas. We agreed that companies can be blinded by their internal data derived from customer behavior and therefore miss out on the great insights motivational data could add to the concept design.