Innovation can be defined as the success of transforming creative ideas into commercial or social benefits that add value to the business or society. Especially if we focus on commercial innovations (that is, if we leave aside the phenomenon of social innovation), innovation is an indispensable tool for the sustainable growth of a business. While all businesses strive to be innovative, some become the shining stars of the business world by getting ahead of others in this field. So what are the main features that distinguish innovative businesses from each other? Scott Anthony answers this question in an article he wrote with his colleagues by listing the following main features (Scott Anthony, Paul Cobban, Rahul Nair, Natalie Painchaud. “Breaking Down the Barriers to Innovation” Harvard Business Review, November–December, 2019):
Believing that there is always a way to do things better
Focusing on customers’ stated or unspecified needs and desires
Collaborate extensively inside and outside the company
Believing that success requires experimentation, rapid iteration, and frequent mistakes.
Encourage and empower employees to take reasonable risks, express their opinions, and seek the necessary resources.
The second one among the main features of innovative companies is important in terms of our subject. The needs expressed by customers are a critical input for product or service innovations. Many businesses work with research companies to incorporate the voice of the customer into the product or service development process. Survey, etc., the process from data to information. Market research companies that manage using data collection tools are indispensable partners for companies that want to increase their market share. But perhaps the most creative and effective innovations are those based on knowledge gained by focusing on customers’ unspecified needs. For example, Henry Ford is reported to have said, “If I had asked them what they wanted, people would have answered me faster horses.” For this reason, a business that tries to understand the desires of its customers should go beyond the question of “what is it you want” and focus on understanding “what and how consumers do what they do”. Therefore, since only “big data” will not be enough, businesses aiming to be innovative will need to work with partners who will extract and analyze “thick data”.
In the age of big data, perhaps developing capabilities that can analyze small data more deeply will be the service innovation of market research companies that want to work with innovative companies.