A Lean Approach to Better Concepts | The Garage Group

A Lean Approach to Better Concepts

We recently took on one of our favorite types of challenges…developing a consumer concept based on an idea that was generated in an ideation workshop. Our client returned to us with a rough set of facts about their target consumer and a technology for a new format “good for you” food, and the initial business model thinking behind it from the ideation workshop we had designed and facilitated with them a few weeks prior.

We jumped in, mined learning from social media for trending consumer language and resonant ingredients, and drafted six different concept approaches to bring the idea to life.

The traditional approach to concept development involves hours behind a double sided mirror in a focus group facility, usually in a few different cities. With a group of consumers reacting to words on paper…crossing through words they don’t like, circling words they do like. And, often, despite amazingly talented moderators, with one or two consumers dominating the conversation. Teams scramble to re-write concepts between groups, with built-in biases and “agendas” and the result is often “least common denominator” concepts built on compromises from multiple stakeholders.

Our lean, entrepreneurial approach aims to develop truly consumer centric ideas, enabled by a team of experienced, and un-biased writers; a series of fast paced one-on-one consumer interactions (via webcam); and iterative concept adaptations between interviews as needed. This lean approach typically takes 1-2 days, costs less than half of a traditional approach, enables the team to log in and observe from the office, and, most importantly, produces proven results.

So, we applied this approach to our good-for-you new food. Within 2 days, and across 15 individual interviews, we assessed and optimized our 6 draft concepts into to 4 testably different concepts, all with strong appeal and differentiation versus competitive products. The client was thrilled and progressed quickly to a quantitative test based on our recommendation and report.

The whole process took just a couple of weeks — from project kick-off, through concept drafts, research and final recommendations.

The point here is, of course, to promote our lean concept development approach, but also, to challenge us all with an example of identifying the real challenges and assumptions with a traditional approach and re-inventing it to focus more on results and less on “that’s the way we do it” process; and reaping the rewards!

The Garage Group enables corporate teams and brands to innovation like startups, including lean approaches to concept development; whitespace, trend and segment understanding; and entrepreneurial approaches to idea generation.

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