A quick way of assessing consumer reactions to a new product or service concept - that was the method introduced in the ”Insight and Evaluation – Speed dating a concept” workshop at the 2011 Innovation in Action symposium.
This particular method, as implied by its name, borrows from the idea of speed dating. Several concepts are presented, one at a time, to consumers within a limited time. Participants are invited to present their first impressions on each one. Led by a facilitator, the ‘customers’ answer a series of questions regarding the product, ranging from things they associate the product with to suggestions for improvement. In the actual application of this method, the company staff acts only as an outside viewer, taking note of the feedback customers give for each concept and using this feedback to further improve the product.
The method focuses on two important areas:
The first is consumer insight. Companies usually create products based on input from designers, product developers and sales personnel. This method, however, emphasizes a crucial point: the consumer’s immediate reaction. If a dating agency were to try and determine the success of a particular client in a speed-dating session, it could not accurately do so by examining his qualifications, religious affiliation, interests or even looks – his ‘features’ alone are not the determining factors. In fact, whether or not there is love at first sight can be decided only by just one factor: the individual seated opposite him. So in the same way, without listening to the feedback of consumers about their products, companies cannot accurately predict how successful their products will be in the market.
The second focus is on speed. While traditional focus group meetings attempt to glean deep and comprehensive insights from consumers, the speed-dating method provides companies with the leverage to assess several concepts in a short span of time. This places importance on the first impressions of customers rather than their rational, logical considerations – which is a much more accurate reflection of how customers in the market really make their buying decisions. Most customers buy or don’t buy a product based on their first impression and not based on a careful consideration of all the pros and cons of doing so. The limitation on this point, however, is that it applies mainly to products or services with a low degree of involvement, for example products that are cheap.
Through playing three different roles, the participants gained a broad view of the ‘speed-dating’ method. They acted the part of both a leader facilitating the discussion, a consumer presenting feedback on product concepts and that of an external viewer looking in on the proceedings and assessing consumer reactions. The applicability of this method to the ideation, concept development and user feedback phase of the innovation process makes it a versatile tool for companies to use, and the possibility of using storyboards to test service concepts further expands its usefulness.
At the end of the day, participants went away with a new practical perspective on how to test future innovative concepts.
Article by Brandon Leong, Googol
För mer information:
Activity: Insight and Evaluation – Speed dating a concept Workshop at Innovation in Action 2011
Date: 19th - 20th of October 2011
Place: Sky City Conference at Stockholm Arlanda Airport
Profile of participants: Innovation practitioners
Hosted by: Innovation Pioneers
Partners of IIA 2011: Swedavia, Microsoft, Logica, Vinnova, Maxibit, Bergenstråhle & Lindvall, SISP and Baker & McKinzie.
The initiating companies of Innovation Pioneers:
Astra Zeneca, Alfa Laval, Electrolux, Volvo IT, Atria,The Absolut Company (Pernod Ricard), Ergonomidesign, Ericsson, Googol, Hjälpmedelsinstitutet, IKEA, Innventia, SCA, Stora Enso, Tetra Pak and Uponor.