Business without investments is impossible

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Interview with Jan Široký, IDC Regional Vice President, about “Diversification through Innovation” project, innovations in general, ambitions and reasons to hire an external innovation agency.

How would you describe the “Diversification through Innovation” project? What was its purpose and goal?

As the name implies, the goal was to find new services and products for the existing markets and expand to the new ones. We are aware it is impossible to do business without investments and searching for new ways, especially in this precipitous digital time when “tomorrow was too late”. We try to look ahead as much as possible even past IDC’s current business. That was one of the reasons for this cooperation.

So you set the biggest goals to reach “at least” the big ones?

Exactly. That was also the reason why we put special emphasis on novel ideas and unexplored opportunities, not just on partial innovations of the existing services. If I was to put it in numbers, we want new services that generate not millions of Czech crowns, but rather millions of euros in profit. The goal of the workshop was thus to discover ten to fifteen product and services concepts that would bring such results within three years.

How was the project organized?

In cooperation with Direct People, we put together an international team of our employees from five Central and Eastern European countries. This team, under the supervision of Direct People, worked to find the new approaches.

What exactly can we imagine behind that?

Focusing on real-time customer needs was the absolute priority in developing ideas. Customers know very quickly, consciously or subconsciously, what they like and need and what is unnecessary thus refusing it. That is what determines the success or failure of new products.

That obviously cannot be done without testing. Did you test it “on humans”?

Of course! Based on their business potential, we first defined 3 target groups that we wanted to design the new products and services for. We then conducted multiple rounds of interviews, identified the needs and challenges of the different groups and collected feedback on our initial ideas. I would like to state that none of the tested subjects was harmed and they all seemed to enjoy it. It was also important that the IDC team took ownership of the resulting concepts and did not just see them as recommendations from external consultants.

What about the results?

We created a total of 11 new product concepts that we submitted to further business potential evaluation. I think that is a good result.

So are you satisfied?

I am satisfied with the overall results. Obviously there is always room for improvement. It was the first cooperation of this kind for us and I am happy that we were successful in needs identification, first phase of new products prototyping and – which is extremely important – introducing our people to the innovative and design aspects of the products and services around us, into a creative thinking. Direct People’s leadership, methodology and an honest effort to help is what I appreciate the most.

What are the shortcomings of such cooperation?

I think I expected a little bit more in terms of content and business potential evaluation. However, I believe this also about communication, managing expectations and defining our ideas more precisely. We took some useful lessons ourselves.

What are you planning to do with the project results? Can users expect to experience these new products and services anytime soon?

Some of these concepts together with a few others that we identified on our own are currently being implemented.

How would you rate your cooperation with Direct People?

Positively, with all seriousness. We are satisfied with the results in a number of ways, including the prototypes definition, designing process, collection of customer feedback and the creative atmosphere and team spirit you created over the course of the entire project. Because innovation without creativity is simply unthinkable. For that I thank you.

So you would recommend us to other companies as well?

For sure, without remorse. We recommend Direct People as a reliable and useful partner. You have a great methodology and approach. I also appreciate your emphasis on inclusion and active participation of our team throughout the entire project.

About IDC

IDC is the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology markets. With more than 1 100 analysts worldwide, IDC offers global, regional, and local expertise on technology and industry opportunities and trends in over 110 countries.