Review – Lightning In A Bottle – How To Develop Salesable Products

Whilst reviewing the book “Lightning in a Bottle” I discovered that the authors had reasons “Why 9 Out of 10 New Products Fail”.

The authors David Minter and Michael Reid have over 25 years working in the innovation arena, particularly Blockbuster Video. Dole and Einstein Bagles and run their own innovation company.

Their book is an easy one to read and explains in detail about how companies can innovate to order.

The only slight irritation I found was they sometimes repeated what they’d already said in a previous chapter. Get over that and you’ll find some true gold in this book.

“Lightning in a Bottle” demolishes the central plank of belief that so many companies have in any or all of:

  • Focus groups
  • Brainstorming
  • Ivory tower R&D or Gee Whiz
  • Rip Off
  • Incoming

The Failures Of Focus Groups

They explain why focus groups return the wrong results or results you want them to return. Unless you’re lucky putting out a new product based on the focus groups feedback is destined to fail.

Badly Let Down By Brainstorming

Brainstorming is given short shrift too as it is compared to giving a group of scientists in different disciplines random unlabeled chemicals and instruments and asking them to come up with lots and lots of compounds. Rhetorically they ask, “Does this sound like a way to cure polio or develop the next breakthrough in interstellar space exploration?”

Gee Whiz, Incoming and Rip Off are similarly examined and found wanting.

Maybe you think Quantative Research and Market Segmentation are important? Minter and Reid suggest that whilst these are good tools they’re inevitably used wrongly for innovation.

10 Points Why New Ideas Fail

To help you understand why new ideas fail they list and consider 10 points that are not usually addressed during the idea creation approach.

They give excellent examples of why businessmen like Ted Turner and Rupert Murdoch are creative geniuses who innovated and kept true to the vision they believed in but nobody else did.

The 7 Step Idea Engineering Method

So having effectively demolished the “normal approach” to generating new products or services the book puts forward the authors own 7 Step Idea Engineering approach.

I should probably declare that this book fits right in with my own thoughts on focus groups and the way innovation is usually handled. And the interesting thing about it is the examples they give and the logical way they construct a better way to innovate.

Believe me by the end of this book I was hooked. And the most interesting thing I found from their book was that rather than focus groups they use one on one interviews to seek feedback.

I’d not realised before but it suddenly hit me. I’d started to use one on one interviews to create new processes and systems in companies because I found that group dynamics meant a process would be skewed according to the most vocal in the group.

If you’re in market research or you’re a business owner you need to read, understand and use Idea Engineering because Minter and Reid have produced a short easily read book that has the potential to change your whole world, for the better.

Increase Sales Tip – Leads Get Cold at Lightning Speed

Increase sales begins with leads. Leads get cold at lightning speed. What are you doing to catch those leads?

Take a moment to think about your last networking event? How many business cards did you collect? And how long did it take you to reconnect with those individuals? If it took you longer than 24 hours, you probably lost the lead.

Have you attended a tradeshow or exhibited at one? How long was it before you connected with everyone, 24 hours, 48 hours or maybe even 5 to 10 days? I have a business colleague who brings notes to the tradeshow and sends them out that same evening before he leaves the show. When the potential prospect returns to his or her office, there is a “glad to have met you” note sitting on the desk.

When you have the opportunity to speak with a prospect and there is even the slightest sense of urgency, then you must jump on that lead faster than you can say speeding bullet. Let’s be hones, leads do get cold at lightning speed and only your commitment to contacting that lead will keep it alive.

Think about all those business cards collecting dust on your desk, n your Rolodex or your personal data assistant (PDA). How many did you respond to within 24 to 48 hours? What were the results of those responses? In other words, how many sales did you receive?

Now flip the coin and think about those that you took longer than 48 hours to reach. What were the results of those communications. Again, how many sales did you receive?

What I have noticed for my business sales is that quicker responses resulted in increased sales. This relationship makes perfect sense given how many change each individual experiences on a daily basis.

To reverse this faster than speed of light business sales trend means that you must develop a system to handle all sales leads immediately. This system should also set you apart from your competition. By taking such action, you will convert those sales leads and realize your goal of increase sales.

Who Needs Lightning Protection?

There is a lot about lightning we do not know. Lightning strikes are random and are not completely understood. What we do know may help you to determine if your home or business is a good candidate for lightning protection.

Most people do not think about lightning protection unless their property or the property of a close neighbor has been struck. That being said, lightning accounts for more losses than hurricanes and tornadoes combined. It is surprising to me that most people view a lightning loss as a very unlikely event.

Lightning generally tends to strike the tallest object in its path to ground. Lightning will usually attach to the highest points of a building, such as the roof top, chimneys, vents, and the edges and corners around the top of a building. You should ask yourself these following questions. Is my building taller than neighboring buildings? Are trees nearby taller than my building? Is my building the tallest object in the area?

Geography is important to consider. In America, Florida has the highest strike frequency while the Pacific Northwest has a much lower strike frequency. Look online at a lightning frequency map to see how often lightning strikes ground at your location.

Topography is just as important to consider as geography. Would your site be more likely to take a strike in a high strike area under the shelter of trees or as the tallest object in a lower strike area on the plains? Being on a ridge or hilltop certainly exposes your site to more potential lightning than being in a valley.

Highly automated homes with lots of electronics are particularly vulnerable to damage from lightning and power surges caused by lightning. A list of other vulnerable sites include: communication towers, munitions storage buildings, oil and gas production or storage tanks and vessels containing flammable materials, refineries, gas compressor stations, processing sites, and most industrial plants. These industries need to consider more than just immediate damage to the structures. They also need to be concerned with business downtime, environmental cleanup, and safety of personnel.

Lightning protection will protect your structure but you will need surge protection to keep your electronics and equipment safe from power surges caused by lightning. Lightning can strike a power line a mile away and send a blast of current all the way to your building. The same is true with cable and phone wires. To complete a lightning protection system you need to protect all the paths that lightning can get to your building or equipment.