At the beginning of the Black Box process, we carefully and specifically define the role innovation needs to play in delivering growth, and explore how and where innovation investments should be focused. Although we remain open-minded about where the innovation process might take us, we begin with a clear blueprint of commercial expectations.
RESEARCH & EXPLORATION
We take a consumer-centred approach to identifying the most fertile territories for innovation. We look far beyond the client's category, at the trends impacting the consumer's life as a whole, and at successful innovation in adjacent or unrelated categories. We then spend time with consumers exploring the entire customer journey. This ‘ethnographic needfinding’ is designed to observe and uncover pain points and unmet needs and identify credible problems for innovation to solve.
Our ideation process isn't about 'getting people in a room and brainstorming'. Rather, it's about immersing a group of thinkers in the research and exploration work, and having them help challenge, refine and extend the territories and ideas that have emerged from our strategic process. We choose broad, cross-functional groups from within and outside the client organisation. And post-workshop, we develop and refine ideas into testable concept blueprints.
PROTOTYPING & VALIDATION
We use design thinking and lean startup principles. This means we focus on 'building to learn' - developing early prototypes of concepts and putting these in the hands of potential customers to study their behavioural response. Black Box Stage 4 is about creating 'minimum viable products' and establishing clear measurement metrics to help evaluate and iterate innovation ideas.
We work with a network of best-in-class executional resource to design, build and launch new products and brands. We advise on the need for and selection of partners, as well as consulting on positioning and marketing strategy. We are not an advertising or communications agency and work with the client's chosen partners in these areas.