When we think about UNI.CORNs we typically associate this with innovation and the possible disruptions that it can bring. Innovation is sought after by entrepreneurs in startups and intrapreneurs in enterprises as the reward for finding the unicorn are fulfilling and lucrative.
When we talk to people about innovation, they usually think about bringing new ideas that could change to the world. Or at least, they think about making big money from an ingenious idea. Well, all of these may be true if there is an unlimited resource to work with to create the next big thing.
More often than not, innovative ideas or perceived innovative concepts will either fail after launch or run out of resources before a prototype can even be developed. This is often due to lack of insights and validation. Innovative ideas can only work if they are realistic and fulfill a need. Under the guidance from DBS Innovation Group, we have been taught to embrace failure and empathize with our customers in all of our propositions. It is most certain that all of our assumptions are wrong unless customers suggested that it is right. This can only be done by putting ourselves into other people’s shoes and walking with them.
Though is it important note, people do not know always what they want. In a TED Talk, Malcolm Gladwell, author of Blink and Tipping Point, quoted Howard Moskowitz who experimented on pasta sauce and found insights from experimentation. Howard, in the early 1980s, helped Campbell’s Soup discover a type of pasta sauce that consumers liked, but at the time, no one seemed to offer this type of sauce – chunky tomato pasta sauce. So, how did Howard found out about this hidden demand?
He had experimented with 45 variants of sauce that included the ones that were unavailable in the market at that time. Without knowing what consumers wanted, he created new varieties of sauce, gathered feedback and ratings to better understand consumer preferences. Ultimately, he found that consumers did not know what they wanted until they had tried his new chunky pasta sauce and indicated preference to the new sauce compared to the regular ones.
Today, Howard’s legacy of chunky pasta sauce can still be found at our local supermarket. By testing new ideas with people, we get to validate our ideas and understand them their preferences better.
The UNI.CORN journey is challenging and yet, it is a fulfilling one for me. We often faced many setbacks and failures while experimenting and conducting interviews. If you think you can be a UNI.CORN, you will have to be psychologically prepared to think like a UNI.CORN. Hence, it is important to identify our personal biases to learn how to avoid them and know how to motivate ourselves when facing our giants. In this blog, I would like to share my insights on this subject matter.
Benny dropped out of school with the intention of starting up his own company when he was 18. Learning from the failures of his first venture, he returned to school to broaden his horizons. Today, he’s double majoring in psychology and strategic management (entrepreneurship) because of his passion in change management and corporate entrepreneurship. He graduates next year in 2017. Working with SMEs has inspired him to help local businesses grow and achieve their fullest potential.