<trp-post-container data-trp-post-id='28010'>Les studies for better serve innovation : 7 pistes à explore

Since the dawn of marketing, it has been a major challenge for companies and the teams involved, whether marketing directors, product managers or R&D managers, to find ways of ensuring that innovation processes are as effective as possible. This has probably always been the most inspiring theme of all for research professionals, which is reflected in the existence of a plethora of tools dedicated to the major stages of this research, from the detection of insights to post-mortem examination (it is the fate of the overwhelming majority of innovations to die as soon as they have hatched from the egg), via the various phases of testing ideas, then concepts, and finally the products and/or services themselves, as they are designed.

However, these approaches and tools are not set in stone. There's nothing more logical than that: business and competitive contexts evolve, as do knowledge and techniques. Fashions" may also come into play, and why not? So it's not so easy for companies to find their way around and identify the most interesting avenues to pursue.
Here are our convictions on the subject, prefaced by the three elements of the context that we feel have the most bearing on these issues.

Context #1. The ever-increasing saturation of markets... and consumers
The phenomenon is nothing new. Seth Godin described it masterfully in his famous book "The Purple Cow". Consumers are increasingly saturated with advertising messages that concern them... more or less. As a result, the old marketing recipe of spending ever more money - and creativity - on advertising to promote 'ordinary', risk-free products is running out of steam. The alternative put forward by Seth Godin is precisely to offer products that are remarkable enough to generate efficient word-of-mouth ("purple cows"). In short: let's stop advertising and start innovating!

Context #2. Digital: small and disruptive is magic
There's no doubt about it, digital has turned everything upside down, and we're certainly far from having seen everything it has to say about its impact. Naturally, it opens up new avenues of innovation. But it also considerably amplifies the phenomenon mentioned above. Once an innovation is sufficiently remarkable, digital gives it the opportunity to reach a huge audience in record time. Almost anything is possible if you know how to take advantage of the virality of digital, the sine qua non being the ability to innovate according to the canons of the Purple Cow, to deploy a powerful story-telling that the first addicts will be quick to relay on a large scale.
As a result, a huge premium is being offered to new players: start-ups or, more broadly, companies that are able to think and act "out of the box", founded by visionaries - born innovators who, more often than not, blithely dispense with market research - and who are competing with, or even destabilising, the biggest groups, which are increasingly unable to grasp the singularity of their mission and sometimes have no better alternative for innovating than to absorb these "little guys".

Context #3. The aggiornamento of behavioural economics
The context of supply and demand is changing, as we have just mentioned. But our understanding of human beings is changing too. The development of behavioural economics is certainly one of the most obvious advances, and challenges the theoretical framework that has until now been dominant in the support of innovation processes. Behavioural economics offers us, first and foremost, a new way of looking at human behaviour, highlighting the importance of decision-making biases and the irrationality of economic agents, and thus calling into question the 'presupposition' of homo-economicus. Crucially, however, it also demonstrates that there is nothing absurd or random about these decision biases, which are systematically and predictably repeated... and therefore controllable.
Having set out the context, here are the 7 avenues - which flow quite naturally from them - that we believe should be taken into consideration to give ourselves the best chance of meeting the challenges of innovation.

Track #1. From Test and Learn to Design Thinking: interweaving reflection - and the studies that feed it - and action
In the world of the past, there were two distinct periods: one dedicated to study and reflection, and the other to action. In today's and tomorrow's world, there is a real need to combine these two phases as effectively as possible. This is the principle of Test and Learn, which finds its theoretical foundation in behavioural economics (which swears by experiments), and a formidable field of application in digital technology. Why waste time on pre-tests with more or less representative samples of consumers, when you can market different variants of a new product or service - or adjust them - and measure their performance in real time?
But it's also the mechanics of Design Thinking and co-creation, where innovation is the result of an iterative process, integrating rapid loops and placing the consumer at the heart of the approach.
To say that the difference between companies will increasingly be played out in the field of co-creation and co-development with consumers may seem obvious. And yet, in how many companies is the principle of selection (and 'gates') still sacrosanct in the management of innovation processes? How many of today's research professionals are comfortable implementing A/B testing? "in real lifeFor example, on a website? And how many are capable of orchestrating a Design Thinking approach within their company? The answer is a measure of the opportunity they have to make these principles and techniques their own.

This article was written in close collaboration with Thierry Semblat of MRNews

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