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A sneaky way to unearth innovation opportunities

Look beyond the obvious right? Ok, here’s a very sneaky way to do that and unearth innovation opportunities.

From the Businessweek article on Hybrids getting competition from plain old cars in gas mileage:

“I was surprised to see that cars like the Fiesta were actually about a nickel cheaper to run per mile than the Prius,” says Hacker. He bought a Fiesta for $16,400 instead of a $23,015 Prius. He’s averaging 37 mpg, which he says is on par with the real-world mileage of his Prius-driving friends who don’t take extreme measures to boost their mpgs. (“To get 50 miles per gallon, some dress like Eskimos because they don’t want to turn the stinking heat on,” says Hacker.)

Notice the words in bold at the end. The behavior described my friend, is a workaround.

A workaround is a compensating behavior people create to make up for the limitations for the existing solution. And most of the time, these workarounds are hidden in plain sight. They are even comical in nature (just like the example above).

These are types of behaviors people won’t tell you about because they are not even aware they do it. They are type of ‘strange behaviors’ you have to look out for. And they are strange because they are unscripted. As in the ‘it didn’t go according to plan’.

Just goes to show what people will do.

Ask yourself: What compensating behaviors are my customers creating when they use my product? What is standing in the way towards their preferred outcome?