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How to innovate for customers

I heard this from Nigel Crouch when he and I were both presenting to the UK Construction Industry Leadership Excellence Conference recently. I haven’t had a chance to check it or ask Nigel for more info., but I’m reproducing it here anyway, as it’s such a funny example of a creative approach to innovating for customers:

McVities, the biscuit maker, got together with Tarmac, the experts in creating sticky road toppings, to create a new form of confectionery – two layers of biscuit with a gooey bit in the middle. Tarmac’s chemists helped McVities’ chemists get the gooey bit right, I presume.

Lesson? Look for experts from different sectors. Combine things that haven’t been combined before to come up with something new for customers.

I’m doing some work with Leaders in London (which takes place at the end of the year) and notice that the innovation expert Vijay Govindarajan, who is talking at Leaders in London, has a technique he calls ‘adjacency innovation’, which is a similar principle: take two things that work in different areas and try putting them alongside each other to see if you can make something new out of them.

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