“Getting the customer insight at a profound level is enormously important and building the capability and skills to do that is enormously important.”
What you really want to understand is one consumer in terms of mind, body, soul and task. Map a holistic experience and spend 12 hours with one consumer spent over a one-month period [instead of] running 50 focus groups where you have eight minutes with an individual consumer…
To really have the concept process and the innovation process, [you should] be very informed by the financials on an innovation. Most companies go and invent things, and then at the end figure out, “How am I going to price it?”
What we do is really work against a major three-step process which is, number one, let’s make sure on the front end that we’re asking the right questions; second, once we’re asking the right questions, how do we dig deep into the consumer, as I’ve just described to you; and then third, once we’ve dug deep into the consumer, how do we put together the concepts and technologies that are going to solve the problem?
How do I begin to ask right questions? One of the most important parts of creating big growth is asking new questions, asking the right questions, because most people operate in very rote ways about how they do things. Think of it as an environment and studio where it’s very inquiry driven, and you’re building in-depth knowledge, and you have all the creative tools to quickly formulate these things.
It’s all about superior insights and intellect. It’s not all about money and scale. It’s knowledge driven and connections driven. To me, creativity is about connecting things. People sometimes confuse creativity and innovation. It’s really about having deep insights and connecting them: the consumer, the technology.
Larry Huston was the architect of its Connect + Develop program at Proctor & Gamble. If you have anything to do with building products, this interview is a great read and some of his insights are invaluable.