Everyone’s striving to innovate, from startups to established behemoths nurturing intrapreneurial efforts. But few truly succeed. Why? A recent study found that:
The most common reason why startups fail is “no market need,” at 42%.
That’s 13 points ahead of the next most common reason: “ran out of cash.” And big companies can sweep their flopped innovation attempts under the rug, so their failures are less visible than those of startups. But we all know they happen — a lot. So this stat is instructive for innovators at established firms, too, not just at startups.
Of course, no company knowingly pursues an innovation that it believes does not meet a need. The challenge is: In advance of designing a new product or service, how can you be pretty sure that what you’re designing will attract customers?
We hear quite a few people claiming that great design is based on instinct, not on research. They often cite a Steve Jobs quote taken out of context or lean on Henry Ford’s famous statement that if he’d asked people what they wanted, they would have said “faster horses.” But that position reflects a misunderstanding, not only of what Jobs and Ford were talking about but of what design research is.
If you have colleagues who fall for this myth or you’re on the fence yourself, we recommend our new report, “Empirical Innovation: Prioritize Evidence Over Instinct To Innovate Successfully” (in our Design Revolution series).
And if you’d be up for speaking with me and my research team to share your observations about where this myth crops up and the consequences, we’d love to hear from you — reach out anytime.