16 April 2015

How to converge on an idea (in a 48 hour challenge)

by Kelly Ryan / No Comments

Earlier, I shared some techniques for having ideas and having good ideas. These were some techniques I worked through with teams at the Innes 48 business start up competition. Here is the next step I worked through with some teams; converging on an idea to progress with.

When teams came to the end of the initial ideation phase, they needed to select an idea from the bunch, to investigate further and flesh out into a business concept.

This is easier said than done. I’ve been in both mentor and participant roles in 48 hour challenges like this. It can be surprisingly difficult to select a single idea from a bunch of ideas, to […]

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3 April 2015

5 techniques for having ideas and having good ideas

by Kelly Ryan / No Comments

Divergent mentors teams in the Innes 48 business start-up competition, and this year we were tasked with being the mentor experts on ideation.

I was called on to help teams at various stages of ideation, and their needs generally fell within three categories; generating ideas, generating ‘good’ ideas, and choosing an idea to progress with. For generating ideas and generating good ideas, I worked through five techniques with the teams. These techniques for ideation are as valuable for more established organisations as they are in start-ups.

Generating ideas

The first challenge for some teams was generating ideas. Our approach to generating ideas is brainstorming. Usually, a brainstorming activity has a well-defined question as the central topic. In the Innes 48 […]

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11 February 2015

4 success factors for building capability in human-centred design

by Matt Currie / No Comments

Many organisations we come into contact with are interested in developing their in-house capability in design thinking or human-centred design. Sometimes this is the sole focus of their engagement with us. Other times it’s a secondary objective attached to a specific product/service innovation project.

Here are some of the key considerations and success factors that I believe an organisation ought to focus on when they have a goal to build internal capability in human-centred design.

1. Define the capability vision
Organisations need to have a clear view on what capability they want to develop and what this will look like within the organisation when fully developed. Fuzzy goals like “we want to be better at understanding customer needs” aren’t particularly helpful for organising activities and resources. A better vision […]

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27 November 2014

Crossing the threshold; open arms or obstacle course?

by Kelly Ryan / No Comments

I never cease to be amazed at how often it is quite difficult to enter a physical place, as a customer, and make that important face to face engagement with an organisation.

This may be a place that is a long-term service provider to you. That you have an appointment with. One which they gladly scheduled for you. Or maybe it’s a place that advertised to you, explicitly inviting you to come and check out their wares. Maybe it’s somewhere that you decide to visit on a whim, as you were walking past.

So you go to visit this place. You arrive there, at the threshold. And are confronted by a generously laden table of goods right in the entranceway, around which you must carefully manoeuver, along with […]

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23 October 2014

How to find out what your customers need

by Matt Currie / No Comments

“We have to find out what our customers want!”, “We could do a survey…”, “Let’s just talk to our call centre staff; they’ll know.”

Surveys and talking to frontline staff all have their value, but for us, the go-to technique for helping our clients find out what their customers really need is ethnography-based research.

What is ethnography-based research? Essentially, it’s qualitative research that focuses on understanding how people live their lives, from their perspective. “Oh, you mean walking a mile in your customer’s shoes?”: yes that’s one aspect, it’s also looking inside their closet where they keep those shoes, talking to them about what footwear means to them, and observing them while they shop for new shoes.

Why do we take this approach? Because we’ve found it’s the best way […]

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8 September 2014

7 tips for better brainstorming

by Matt Currie / 2 Comments

In our experience, most people in business are familiar with brainstorming as an idea generation technique. So much so that when we inject brainstorming into our projects it’s often met with some level of eye rolling – “Simple old brainstorming! Is that all you’ve got?”

Despite this familiarity, and maybe because of the scepticism, we find that many brainstorming sessions fail to deliver maximum value if left to their own devices.

To combat this, at Divergent we’ve got a set of brainstorming rules we adhere to very closely.

1. Always have a well defined question or challenge as your brainstorming topic eg. how might we rid the area of mice? which new customers could we target?

2. Brainstorm with others – make sure everyone contributes ideas (no-one’s allowed to […]

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