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Innovation is About Behavior, Not Products

True innovators get people to do new things, not just buy new stuff.
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Innovation is not invention. An invention is generally a product or a process and something you can see. Innovation is different. To innovate, we must ask ‘why’ someone does something rather than asking ‘what’ he or she does. We must design with the intent to influence or persuade, and then deliver an experience that is both meaningful and measurable to the buyer or user. That then becomes the value proposition.

Here are three important principles to consider when trying to design an innovative product, service, or company:

Change is a step-by-step process. You want to start with the commonplace and convince users to take baby steps, not giant leaps. ZocDoc started with something everyone does - calling the doctor for an appointment. The company matches requests with doctors who have open slots, and delivers  the results online for easy access. Simplicity is key to change and action.

The environment shapes behavior. The context is as important as the information we deliver. It’s about changing the relationship of someone doing something. Of course the internet has changed our behavior, but other platforms can do the same, especially those that encourage communication and collaboration. Companies such as PatientsLikeMe provide a safe and secure platform for people to share their personal experiences with their treatments, and for other patients to either corroborate their experiences, become more aware of treatment options, and learn from others.

Information is useless without action. Design of your product or company should focus on a new action, not the avoidance of an old habit. A value proposition to change behavior might be “the ability for a patient to communicate and collaborate with anyone, anytime, anywhere, sharing all their own health information.” This contrasts nicely with the existing paradigm, where patients are passive and wait for someone else to guide their health care. This new action gives patients confidence, control and a feel-good behavior they want to repeat.

True innovation requires a simple, personal behavioral change. A strong value proposition influences, persuades and delivers an experience that is meaningful and measurable.

Last updated: May 9, 2013

DIANE ZUCKERMAN

Diane Zuckerman, a pharmacist and visionary entrepreneur, most recently founded Evidence-Based Solutions. Zuckerman is a Springboard Enterprises alumna and can be found on LinkedIn here.




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