How to Choose an Innovation Consulting Services Company
How to Choose an Innovation Consulting Services Firm to Develop Your Best Opportunities
If you have a vision for a product or technology to capitalize on a market opportunity, you are likely considering different ways to move the project forward. The challenge you face is finding the most efficient and cost-effective way of bringing the right version of your product to the ideal market, as quickly as possible.
As a result, you may be evaluating different innovation consulting firms to support your innovation journey and get those new ideas to market. However, one look at the wide variety of consultancy firms is enough to overwhelm anyone. The way different companies think about and approach innovation varies widely, the output and outcomes will also differ depending on the consultant’s value proposition.
This makes the selection process difficult, so your goal should be to fully understand exactly what these consulting firms deliver - and if that truly aligns with your business needs - to make the best decision for your company.
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Here is what you need to know in choosing the right innovation consulting firm to support you.
What do innovation consulting companies do?
Different types of consultants will fill a wide variety of roles depending on their approach to innovation. These might include:
- Building internal capacity
- Generating big ideas
- Uncovering new opportunities
- Developing new products
- Bringing current products to new markets
- Writing growth strategies
- Clarifying existing positioning and value proposition
- Producing and testing prototypes
A significant challenge companies find is that most innovation firms only work within a limited section of the innovation journey and don’t support their clients from beginning to end. The clearest example of this is the management consulting approach that focuses on market research and ideation but doesn't support the development of a specific opportunity or product.
Establish what innovation services you need
Before you can choose the right product innovation consulting services for you, it’s essential to clarify your gaps and needs. Dive deep into your objectives and what it will take to get there, - not just in the short term, but long term as well.
If you are trying to develop new product opportunities, it can be a long road from identifying your best opportunity to launching your minimum viable product. Product development is one side of the coin, but customer development is the critical component of success.
If you’re thinking about revising your overall business strategy, you may also find that you need further specialized knowledge to ensure your infrastructure and processes can support the new strategy.
If you already have a variety of innovative ideas for new products or approaches to market, hiring a top innovation consulting firm that specializes in ideation won’t get you very far. Rather, you need a firm that can help you validate which opportunity is the most desirable, feasible, and viable in the market.
If you have a developed concept but haven’t validated that it’s technically feasible to scale at a cost that makes it profitable, business modeling won’t provide the answer. You need a systematic approach to developing the technical foundation and building your technology roadmap.
Let the evidence guide the way
Resources are always precious; time and capital can not be wasted. The best way to mitigate risk is to follow an evidence-driven approach.
With evidence-driven innovation, every decision made throughout the journey is made based on testing the market and learning from the results. It’s all about testing your riskiest assumptions first.
For example, you might be unsure whether or not a particular new software feature would actually provide enough value to the customer to drive incremental revenue. The evidence-driven innovation approach would prototype the feature and test it in-market to determine whether or not it’s worth pursuing.
Evidence-driven innovation takes nothing for granted about your business, the market, your competitors, product viability, or anything else. Every step forward is taken with careful consideration based on the market response through testing.
There’s the right way, and then everything else
There is no single path to innovation, every company, starting point, and goal is different. However, there are fundamental methods that have proven to ensure the best chance of success.
At Normative, we’ve structured each of our services to build on the previous, forming the process we’ve used with companies like Inspiren to go from a ‘back of the napkin sketch’ to winning awards at SXSW and Fast Company’s Innovation by Design.
Our evidence-driven process includes:
Data-driven validation of early market signals to focus and clarify emerging customer needs and market opportunities
Concept prototyping to bring focus to the value proposition of a new opportunity
Product prototyping to assess and validate desirability, viability, and feasibility with working software
Refine the product for real-world testing to validate further, and identify any outstanding issues
Minimum Viable Product
Prove the complete commercial viability in the market ahead of investment in scaling and full commercial launch
Find the innovation partner that will help you reach your goals
With a clear picture of the wide range of approaches innovation consulting firms can take to help your business throughout its innovation journey, you can make an informed and educated decision, spurred by a deeper look at the exact needs of your business.
If you want to develop innovative products and solutions to meet a real market need, consider partnering with Normative. We believe that innovative ideas aren’t enough, that you need fully validated opportunities to succeed in your market.
Get in touch with our team today