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

Posted on October 25, 2018 in Uncategorized

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.