In the Fast Company Article Change or Die, Alan Deutchman, shared a statistic that blew me away. After just a year, more than 90% of heart bypass patients return to the 5 behaviors (overeating, not exercising, too much stress, excessive drinking, and smoking) that put them on the operating table to begin with.
Ninety percent! Makes you wonder how anyone could go through something as life changing as a coronary bypass and not change for good. Funny thing though – when I think about different people I know that have gone through bypass surgery, most were all back to their old ways within a short time.
In his book, Leading Change, John Kotter identifies the key factors for successful change. Number one is a sense of urgency. Well if dying doesn’t create a sense of urgency what does. Why then is that not enough?
Kottter explains that a sense of urgency is required to get people moving. However, to keep them moving they need a compelling vision for the future.
This fits with the heart patient example as well, where counseling dramatically reduces recidivism rates; of course a key part of that counseling is helping the patient envision a healthy future. One where they control their weight, and other habits and as a result have less pain and are able to more actively participate in life with their loved ones.
So what does this all have to do with new product innovation? It’s pretty simple really. When your people are out in the field identifying new opportunities, are they harnessing the forces of change for your new products?
First – Is there a sense of urgency to solve the problem. Are potential customers afraid of what might happen if they don’t make a change. Have you found a problem or an unmet need that keeps them lying awake at night worrying about the outcome? That can get them moving.
Brinks Security’s latest adds do a pretty good job of that by playing to that reptile brain fear of someone kicking your door down if you don’t have one of their alarm systems to protect you.
Second – Can you describe a compelling future that your solution moves them towards?
Xerox’s latest advertisements show how they handle all the messy document issues so that Ducati can instead focus on its vision – making the worlds fastest motorcycles.
Simple Bottom Line
Make the forces of change a key part of your new product innovation by identifying the things that customers urgently want to avoid or even fear and then help them envision how your solution helps achieve their vision of the future.
Please share your thoughts!