Projects That Work Well In Our Three-Day Bootcamp

Congratulations on your decision to participate in our Three-Day Innovation Bootcamp. Every great journey starts with a single step. You've just taken an important step in changing how to think and act in your efforts to find a new engine of growth for your company. 

A common question among Bootcamp sponsors is, "What kind of projects should we select for the Bootcamp?"

This is a great question. The following is a quick guide to help you think about what projects to select for the Bootcamp.

Three Types Of Projects That Can Work Well In Our Bootcamp

The principles, process and methodologies taught in the Bootcamp are applicable to a variety of situations. Any business who has customers can benefit from the Bootcamp. So, on the one hand, there are a great number of different projects that are a good fit. 

To help you select which projects to include, think about the following different types of projects in the context of what you are trying to accomplish with your innovation efforts. Are you trying to improve an existing business? Would you like to expand your current business model into a new market? Are you trying to create an entirely new business consisting of new customers, new products and new markets?

Consider three types of projects that may be a great fit for the Bootcamp.

  1. Sustaining innovations
  2. Disruptive innovations
  3. Internal customer innovations

Sustaining Innovations are new ideas that fit within your current business model. These are typically incremental improvements to products and services that have the potential of improving the current business model. 

An example of a sustaining innovation is the iPhone 2, 3, 4, etc. The latest iPhone represents the current iteration of the iPhone that fits within Apple's existing business model. As an sustaining innovation, the iPhone 7 will undoubtedly have essentially similar features and functionality, but the features will be a little bit better with some new bells and whistles thrown in. More speed, better camera, faster app switching are all examples of sustaining innovations. The new iPhone also has new features, but only those that support the fundamental concept of a leading smartphone. In most competitive markets, sustaining innovations are critical for continued success in the core business. It's a good idea to respect the core business as it provides funding for everything else.

Teams can work on sustaining innovations within the Bootcamp. Teams can use the principles and processes to uncover new customer insights which can help refine and improve incremental plans. 

However, established companies are often times pretty good at developing sustaining innovations, where the customers, problems and solutions are known. So, it's important to be honest with yourself about your company's current strengths and weaknesses in this area. If you feel like your company is pretty good creating new, sustaining innovations, then consider picking another type of project as described below to expand your capabilities.

Distruptive innovations are new ideas that address new customers, problems and markets in a way that is outside your current business model. Disruptive innovations are the sexy, bold and sometimes crazy ideas that can lead to breakthrough innovations. These ideas have the potential to transform existing industries and create new ones from scratch.

Disruptive ideas typically live in an environment of high uncertainty. These highly uncertain ideas are a great fit for our innovation Bootcamp. One of the reasons for this is that these new ideas typically don't have a much internal baggage as sustaining innovations do. Team members can approach a disruptive idea with a beginner's mindset. 

Our process used in the Bootcamp is great for helping teams learn how to eliminate uncertainty, and transform the unknown into the known. These projects are also a lot of fun for project teams because they are new and different and outside of the employee's daily routine. 

In summary, disruptive innovations are a a great fit for our Bootcamp as well.

Internal Customer Innovations are internal company projects aimed at creating value with internal customers, i.e., employees.

In many companies, most of the employees are focused on serving internal customers. Often times, internal service providers, like finance, human resources, organizational effectiveness, and certain areas of operations don't think of themselves as serving customers. Still, there is not doubt that they are serving employees as customers. Instead of serving customers outside the building, they serve employees who are really internal customers. We think it's useful to think of employees as customers with whom you can develop empathy, understanding and insight.

Some example ideas come from thinking about how we can make employees more productive, more effective and happier in the workplace.

How can we help employees drink more water during the day?

How can we make our field sales people more effective on sales calls?

How do we attract and develop intrapreneurs within the organization instead of driving them away?

Internal customer innovation projects are also a great fit for the Bootcamp. These projects are actually great for people who are very reluctant to talk to external customers. They will find talking to existing employees to be a safer, more comfortable way to learn a new innovation process.

Get Out Of The Building

During our Three-Day Bootcamp, each team will run five different customer experiments. In order to accomplish this, it's imperative to get out of the building and talk to real customers. The data from these experiments will provide the evidence to determine if your fundamental hypotheses are correct, or not. 

It's important to have a plan for how you are going to talk to customers during the three days. Some teams set appointments with customers in advance. Other teams go to heavily-populated areas like malls, stores or parks and talk to the customers that are already there. There are various methods for getting access to customers for the Bootcamp. It's a critical element of the experience so advance planning is advised.

To help the teams develop a plan for talking to customers, we set up two conference calls in advance of the Bootcamp to help guide the teams so they are set up to get the most out of the three-day experience. During the calls, we will help guide the teams on project selection and developing a plan to get access to customers during the Bootcamp.

Feel free to contact us if you have any additional question. See you at the Bootcamp!