Behind product breakthroughs such as the IKEA Place augmented reality app are people who are willing to push their companies to innovate, such as Torbjörn Lööf, who is head of IKEA’s innovation unit Inter Ikea. Altimeter Group analyst Brian Solis calls people like Torbjörn Lööf digital change agents. These are “individuals who share a deep expertise and passion for digital and are ardent advocates of its potential to help their companies compete more effectively,” as Solis writes in a recently published report, The Digital Change Agent’s Manifesto. I read the report closely because of my interest helping organizations unleash their potential to launch new products and services. I think anyone involved in transformational change should, too.
The report is the result of extensive interviews with change agents at brands such as Coca-Cola and Starbucks. In it, Solis identifies 10 steps that digital change agents should take to guide their transformation efforts, expedite change, minimize complications, and overcome detractors. Those steps range from making allies to spreading digital literacy within the organization.
One of the steps that resonates especially for me is the importance of creating a digital transformation roadmap. Solis writes,
The key to helping their organizations constantly innovate is for change agents to work on local pilots and on a longer-term, enterprise-wide digital transformation roadmap that everyone can work against. By focusing on local digital transformation initiatives, change agents can use their incremental, quick wins to prove concepts and garner support for larger efforts . . . . While change agents must deliver value quickly, they must also keep an eye on the bigger picture.
The question is, How does a change agent deliver success through local pilots while keeping an eye on the bigger picture? I think the answer comes down to having a process in place that maps product development to a company’s goals while mitigating the risk and cost of innovating with pilots. In Moonshot’s recently published Executive Guide to Immersive Reality, we discuss how to employ such a process for launching lovable products that use augmented reality, mixed reality, and virtual reality. The process, which we call FUEL, encompasses both design thinking and lean innovation, like so:
Design Thinking for Ideation
Through design thinking, businesses identify the right problem to solve by gaining empathy for the user, create and consider many options, refine selected directions, create prototypes, and validate the prototypes through user testing. Design thinking uses tools such as five-day design sprints to validate the best ideas and reject less useful ones with minimal cost and time. The outcome is a prototype for a minimum lovable product (MLP), or the product that generates the most love with the least amount of cost and effort.
Lean innovation for Development
With lean innovation, cross-functional teams collaborate on holistic product design in an iterative, agile fashion. With lean innovation, a team develops the actual minimum lovable product and then the outcome is a real product for commercial application. Leveraging the working models of the agile development mindset, lean innovation teams collaborate across product, design, and engineering to move into the blueprint, build, and test rhythm of scrum delivery. Then, as the product takes shape and is positioned for market, the lean innovation process ensures the MLP is set up for success by surrounding it with the right people, processes, and governance. Lean innovation helps businesses scale the idea to a digital product and, as appropriate, platform and ecosystem.
The above process links new product ideas to corporate strategy in a few key ways:
- The development teams by design include team members plugged into the corporate vision and strategy
- The process includes the voice of the customer to vet or reject ideas
Change agents don’t succeed through their vision and ideas alone, as The Digital Change Agent’s Manifesto asserts. Change agents also need a process to test and develop their ideas in a way that will protect them from detractors while proving their value to the entire organization. Design thinking and lean innovation together create the fuel change agents need to succeed. To learn more about how to get started launching lovable products that change your organization, contact Moonshot. Helping companies embrace change is what we do.