Innovation Creates Value

Solve it in the shower

Solve It In The Shower
I was asked to consult with a start-up company that had developed tools for analyzing transactions on the web and detecting possible fraud. The company had sent a team of people out into the marketplace to sell the product and they had generated a lot of talking interest but very little sales. From our discussion it was clear that the company had no strategic marketing expertise and as a result they were chasing “everything that moved.”

I suggested they think through their marketing positioning and bring some focus to their activities. As a result we spent a weekend working through a positioning process. On Saturday we had an extended discussion about how the product was used, its features and who might find value from the product. At the end of the day we still had a murky situation with no clear direction emerging.
On Sunday morning when we reconvened everyone was getting their coffee and getting settled down when the CEO came in, pulled me to one side and told me he had the answer. While in the shower the answer had come to him. We had our target market and they could now focus their efforts. One of the things I noticed about the demeanor of the CEO was a sense of excitement.
This is an example of what students of creativity called “incubation.” The process of letting a question or problem sit in the unconscious mind while doing other things. Subsequently, often quite unexpectedly the answer just appears – although the shower does seem to be a favorite place for people to get insights.

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