The Joy of Innovation
by Bonnie Janzen

  • Joy of Inovation

    Remember the joy of discovery? Have you ever seen a young child discover something completely new to them?

    For example, maybe their mom used dish detergent to create the world’s largest bubbles in the backyard. These discoveries might be classified as “Sir Isaac Newton moments.” Or have you ever seen a child spot an actual rainbow in the sky after a summer rain (not just a rainbow in a book) and beg their parents to take them to the end of the rainbow so they can see the pot of gold, which might be called “a Galileo moment.”

Because you are truly the ‘voice of the customer’ in the organization, you are the starting point for innovation. You will be able to discover the consumer pain points, barriers to trial and usage and purchase journey, which will allow you to help your team and organization move customers beyond those pain points and barriers. You will be able to solve real-life problems for your customers, your employees, and any other stakeholder group that your business serves. In addition, it will allow you and your team to experience the joy of innovation!

At Decision Analyst, we have had the pleasure of working on innovation with many of our clients and with the Imaginators®, our highly creative consumer community. Some projects use only the Imaginators, while other projects combine the Imaginators with other specialized groups, including:

  • Our client's cross-functional team
  • Food bloggers and chefs
  • Packaging experts.

Our Imaginators, who have been tested to be in the top 4% of idea-centric creativity in the United States, are able to think outside of the box and beyond what typical consumers can. They have new ideas to solve all types of problems. Part of the magic is in utilizing the Imaginators themselves, and part of the magic is with the process we use.

The Imaginators have frequently worked with CPG products, foods and beverages, and restaurant/QSR food and beverages. They have also worked in cosmetics, beauty, health & wellness; hospitality; technology; and frequent shopper/frequent traveler programs. Our innovation work includes many from our client cross-functional teams, including marketing, communications, operations, engineering, product planning, R&D, human resources, merchandising, store design, etc.

We have worked on projects to create new products, new packaging, new positioning and creative for commercials, new promotional campaigns, and new names. In some cases, we have developed a new product as well as a name, packaging, positioning, and creative all for that one product or product line.

In addition to using the Imaginators for NPD (new product development) and creative development, we have also found that seeding regular consumer research projects with one or two Imaginators can enhance the output of regular consumers. It’s as if it gives regular consumers a “spark” and permission to take more risks than they generally would in focus groups or other types of research, for example.

It’s important that you and your team understand the basic motivations of consumers in the category for which you are developing your new product. So, if you don’t have recent in-depth qualitative research, we would recommend that be the starting point of the NPD (new product development) process. Steeped in consumer understanding, which would help you understand the purchase journey and the barriers to purchase, you will be able to recruit the appropriate participants from the Imaginators for the innovation work. The next step would be to test the concepts that are prepared in the innovation phase. Having a good depth of understanding of the consumer purchase journey and barriers to trial and usage will be important.

We would love to help you and your team with the innovation process. Using the Imaginators gives you a chance to remember, or to experience for the first time, the Joy of Innovation!

About the Author

Bonnie Janzen ( is an Executive Vice President at Decision Analyst. You may contact her at either 1-800-262-5974 or 1-817-640-6166.


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