Series V

Customer-driven innovation

The thing with disruption is, it is so inherently different that consumers are completely unfamiliar with it. The reason they are so unfamiliar is that customers are not usually drivers of innovation and disruption in markets. Plus, customers like the familiar so long the price does not exceed expectations and worth. Therefore, succeeding in the marketplace especially with products that are innovative or disruptive to customers familiarity usually means convincing the customer to “adopt”. This adopting process is one that requires understanding, not just of customer behavior but of the market itself.

Customer behaviors ideally should change in concurrence with product, service or process innovation. Companies need to master managing customers’ behaviors if the uptake of an innovation is to be met in line with company goals.

The best way to achieve customer-driven innovation is to truly understand your customer’s needs and see where and how your company, your competition, and your entire industry is or isn’t meeting them; understanding how consumers interact with the existing solution and then building something that plugs into the loopholes.

Virtually all companies today have a powerful tool at their disposal, though most don’t bother to use it: it’s the ability to gather, store and analyze the massive volumes of data generated by your customers as they interact with you, your systems, your services and your products.

Connecting to customers does not mean merely asking the customer what they want. Why? Because Customers tend to frame their answers based on what already exists. On what they know. They will always ask for better products and services. So, if customers respond to you based on what they do and are familiar with, how do you innovate? By extreme listening (genuinely striving to process and to learn from what you’re hearing, and then acting on that knowledge).

If you understand the customer problem, you dramatically improve your odds of successful innovation.

Think of it this way, if you’re not talking with your customers, how do you know what problem you’re trying to solve?

Portfolio News

  1. Wesabi (VP C1) has launched a home maintenance plan that gets you repairs and home maintenance services all year round for as low as ₦30,000. Get it here + They are also offering a 10% discount on their wesabi plan.
  2. Thrive Agric (VP C2) was nominated at the Africa CEO Forum in Abidjan, Ivory Coast for the award of the most promising company in Africa in 2018. Link
  3. Reliance HMO launches the first health plan for businesses in Nigeria you can buy and use in 10 minutes! Get started
  4. Paystack has Introduced Paystack Starter Businesses. Basically, unregistered businesses can now accept online payments with Paystack, without needing a Corporate Bank Account or company registration document. Link

Have a great day!

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