Asking better questions…getting better answers

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A while back we were at a marketing symposium and had a display that read “If you want better answers, ask better questions.” The President of a midsize consumer healthcare company walked by and looked at the display several times. Eventually he walked up and said, “Can you do that?” We answered, “That’s what we do.” He told us the reason our message stopped him was it made him realize  his people seemed to be in a pattern of asking the same questions, getting the same answers and,somehow, being surprised by the results.

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Not surprising…because, when the same kinds of questions are asked, maybe even in different ways, you should pretty much expect to get the same answers.  That makes it hard to drive the kind of differentiation and ownability that can set your brand apart in the marketplace.  The challenge is  to ask different questions  in unexpected, engaging ways and then, importantly,  to think (more…)

Fueling innovation

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Conversation overheard on a New York street corner:

“The client wants to have a call this afternoon to discuss how we can help them create innovation.”
“What does she expect us to tell her?”
“I’m not sure. Sounds like she wants to know what our innovation process is.”
“What is our innovation process?”
“Well…”
“Well is right…let’s talk about it when we get back. When’s the call?”

Would you want to be the Client on that call?

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Seeking “innovation” is one of those amorphous goals that lead to a lot of activity but, in our experience, most often comes up short on results. Do you have your own example of a failed innovation initiative? And how can true innovation be achieved?

We analyzed a number of “classic” product failures (more…)