Field test, iterate, pilot, launch.
Too often innovations fail in the field because the unconventional design team hands off to a conventional deployment team.
Instead, the innovation team, particularly research specialists, should design and conduct the field test. New offerings, particularly those that propose new capabilities or benefits beyond the product itself, are difficult to test using traditional product metrics.
Remember the goal is not to get it right. The goal is to get it better, faster, cheaper.
Plan the research with stimuli, such as video prototypes, that help to make the future vision tangible. This should push beyond the product features, functions, pricing and position.
The test should analyze the end-to-end user experience, from the brand message to Entice the user to Enter into a relationship, to Engage with the solution, and follow through their Exit and Extend into a loyal, sustained and growing relationship.
Researchers should seek to avert the bias born of group-think, a common challenge with focus group methods. The closer you can get to revealing and learning from a personal, unbiased, individual reaction, the better. This goal benefits more from an ethnographic observation model, rather than a prompted focus group setting.
Findings from a small number of target stakeholders informs the next round of iteration, with updates on features, timing, pricing, distribution, user engagement and customer support.
Update the investment model and the scheduled forecast for return on investment. This may cause sponsors to accelerate in-market deployment by investing faster or bigger, to deploy to more markets and learn faster. Or the converse, slow down, iterate more, even change paths. Treat the field results like a navigational beacon and course-correct your iteration cycle and go-to-market plans.
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