Every assumption is an innovation opportunity

Bust AssumptionsWe all make assumptions, we go along without thinking about what we do and much less why we do it; this is an opportunity for innovators.

Here’s an example of how you can begin identifying assumptions through a simple search on Google…

I recently sat down with a client to help them redefine their brand and rethink their business model for a digital world. My client’s value proposition is one pretty much anyone in the industry can offer; I quickly questioned they’re differentiation.

In order to communicate ones differentiation a value proposition statement is used, so to show how they assume to be the only ones doing business the way they say they do I copied and pasted their statement into Google’s search box.

Below is their statement:

We provide accurate and up-to-date market information with skilled analysis and superior real estate advisory to our clients, we intent to make the leasing, selling and buying of real estate as simple as possible while maintaining the highest level of service and effectiveness.

The funny thing is that they’re in the business of commercial real estate, not real estate. So, on the first page of search results you get 5 different providers and people (including real estate agents) using almost the same statement to a T on their respective websites.

I quickly pointed this out to them and let them know that their value proposition needs tweaking; among other things.

Assumption is the mother of all fuck ups

Copying and pasting a business value proposition statement into Google is a technique I use to identify assumptions industry players make, but it’s not the only one. You see, it is a safe bet that in legacy industries all players will be tooting the same horn, singing the same tunes and dancing the same way.

To an innovator this is an area ripe for innovation, for assumptions, the way things have always been done, is a major roadblock for innovation; and you can unleash new value if you eliminate those roadblocks.

All business have assumptions that underlie their business, your job as an innovator is to shine light on these assumptions, question them, invert them, and test them through active experimentation to figure out which assumptions are worth busting.

Tim Kastelle has a great write up on how to test assumptions, read it.

Remember, where all think alike nobody things very much, and innovation usually begins by challenging old assumptions; which lead to creating and setting new standards. As lan Alda says: “Begin challenging your assumptions. Your assumptions are the windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in awhile or the light won’t come in.”