“Why would you waste your time commercializing a mediocre product?” This was said to me by Phil White, co-founder of the performance bike company Cervelo. He and his team made history making bikes that are faster than any others.
As we talked in Toronto, I agreed with him, “I won’t ship a whiskey if it doesn’t win by at least 60/40 in paired comparison testing versus a product costing 50 to 100% more than us.“ (Recall our Brain Brew Custom Whisk(e)y company is powered by and located at the Eureka! Ranch.)
Sadly - when I talk to corporate clients they don’t understand Phil and the Brain Brew Crew’s relentless pursuit of excellence. They usually will say something along the lines of “you craft guys can do that. In the corporate world that’s just not the way it is. we don’t have the MONEY to make our products great.
I DON’T BUY IT - let’s be honest - craft companies don’t have a fraction of the money big companies have. The issue is not money it’s MINDSET. They have accepted that “mediocre” is ok.
I KNOW it can happen in a MEGA SIZED Organization because I did it. At Procter & Gamble Eric Schulz and I lead the P&G Invention Team. Together we shipped 9 WOW innovations in 12 months.
The secret to our success was we had a CRAFT MINDSET - compromise was not an option. When we ran into executional barriers we would reinvent the idea to eliminate the problem while maintaining or growing the idea’s wow factor.
When you have a CRAFT MINDSET you see your work the way an artist does. Your innovations are an expression of your heart and soul. And your innovations are about more than profitability - they’re about making a difference for customers.
Three Steps For Taking Your Idea from Mediocre to WOW!
Step 1: Confront Reality: Run a paired comparison test of your product or service offering versus the best in the world. Use sensation transfer testing to identify your strengths and weaknesses. NOTE; If you don’t know what that means - learn about it from research expert or have the Eureka! Ranch research team teach you.
Step 2: Reinvent To Win: Adopt the mindset of a craft whiskey, beer or bike company. You have no money and time. Out spending your competition on marketing is not an option. The only way you can win is to make a better product or service. So stop, think and DO IT NOW. If you don’t know what to do - hold a quick Create Session and do a Problem Survey. The entire process can be done in a morning - with test results in about an hour at a cost of around $300. Again, if you don’t know how talk to a research expert or the Eureka! Ranch.
Step 3: Prototype, Rapid Research & Repeat: Reinvent your product or service - juggling product, positioning, pricing, profitability, etc. - then run another paired comparison test. Use the learnings to guide your next cycle of learning. With our Whiskey company we do a complete cycle of idea creation, product creation and product testing every 24 hours. No we are not super human - rather we’ve built our innovation systems for maximum speed. Keep doing cycles till your mediocre idea is transformed into a craft wow that you are proud of.
To read about Phil’s remarkable story order the book To Make Riders Faster by Anna Dopico. It’s the best business book I’ve read this year. It’s the behind the scenes story of how big ideas really happen.