Growth Innovation

Growth Innovation

Customer needs drive every business. You can identify opportunities for new products, services, and messages by discovering unmet customer needs. Then you can create value propositions based on what people value.
Growth Innovation

What's Different Today

All organizations face an increasing rate of change. The information technology revolution, globalization, and climate change have influenced customer buying behaviors, markets, and how people think about brands. Information is power, creating more customer choices and brand value pressure for competitors. It's not just change itself, but the rate and scale of change are increasing.

There are two ways to deal with change: you can chase it or lead it.
Peopledesign - Growth Opportunities

Every two days, we create as much information as we did from the dawn of civilization until 2003.
Eric Schmidt, Google

New Expectations

Customers often pick a better experience over any particular product or service given a choice. Today, there is a greater need for accessible and more coherent customer experiences.

However, decades of extreme focus on core competencies and outsourcing everything else has led many organizations and industries to push complexity onto their customers. Creating better experiences means internalizing market complexities.

Leaders are reinventing their internal teams and leveraging new technology. The technology landscape is changing quickly, which can be overwhelming, but remember that “technology” is just what we call something invented since we were born. Next-generation companies will not view digital technologies as a luxury but rather a new baseline. New teams and tools will emerge with adaptive processes that focus on experience metrics and the customer.

External customer expectations are driving this change. Call it the Amazon effect: Customers get used to buying products late at night, in bed, on the phone, and expect them delivered by tomorrow. Customers expect direct access to information, transparency of providers, and a holistic customer experience. Not all companies are ready for this change, and many industries will witness the collapse or evolution of their traditional value chains.

Since 2017, CMOs spend more on technology than CIOs.

Peopledesign - Jumping the S-Curve

Reinvent your business before it’s too late.
Harvard Business Review

New Tools

As a result of these new conditions, many organizations seek to pivot and “Jump the S-Curve.” Adaptable companies will find new growth by first redefining their value proposition, then making strategic changes to their offer, infrastructure, talent engagement, technologies, and go-to-market strategies. We apply three core principles to our approach to help organizations innovate and find new growth.

Human-Centered Design is about looking at business problems from a user’s perspective. It’s not only about empathy or usability – identifying what motivates customers, how they make decisions and their unmet needs is a key source of innovation.

Design Thinking is a cliché to some and a mystery to others. What’s clear is that design-led organizations outperform others. Design Thinking methods are a way to handle the “wicked problems” organizations face today: Facing market disruption, digital transformation, creating frictionless experiences, and more.

Collaboration is a core part of our philosophy because we believe innovative solutions don’t come from a singular point of view. Internally, we bring a group of diverse viewpoints to a problem. We collaborate with our clients to make recommendations that fit the organization. It’s about communication, drawing a new map, and leadership.

Planning for Change

You can’t change the past, but you can change the future trajectory. Isolate the past, present, and future as your plot your change strategy. The future roadmap can break into logical innovation horizons: Long-term Vision, medium-term Growth, and near-term Activation.

Peopledesign Future Vision

Finding Opportunities

Here are four ways to identify growth opportunities:

Ethnographic Research
Competitive Landscape
Impact Trends and Benchmarks

    Ethnographic Research
    People don’t always know what they want or really need. They may not have the words, or perhaps they aren’t aware of how new technologies can create solutions that they wouldn’t have imagined. We employ ethnographic research techniques such as observations, activities, and interviews to get the users to tell stories and uncover unarticulated pain points and desires.

    Competitive Landscape
    You know who your direct competitors are. You know who your aspirational competitors are. But how much have you thought about new threats that haven’t entered the market yet? Often, the most significant disruptors come from outside the industry or from a different role in the value chain. Understanding the broader landscape keeps us from repeating the mistakes of our direct competitors while thinking differently about how to leverage methods that new threats or substitutes might use.

    Impact Trends and Benchmarks

    Umbrella trends, like sustainability, permeate the marketplace and sometimes lose clarity and meaning. Seed trends emerge. Some trends don’t last, but others do, and a few may have a critical impact or provide a solid opportunity for your organization. By examining impact trends and benchmarking organizations in other markets that have embraced these trends well, we can hypothesize how your organization might apply these learnings for its benefit.


    Opportunities have to be authentic to your organization, or they likely won’t work. Growth opportunities should challenge and expand the way your organization thinks, but it needs to be rooted in your value proposition. Understanding the world outside your company is vital. It’s equally important to see what’s going on inside your walls. We review your strategic documents, interview key stakeholders, and collaborate with your team in workshops. Then we make actionable recommendations while fostering internal adoption and alignment.

    If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have told me a faster horse.
    Henry Ford

    Innovation Strategy

    Successfully identifying and acting on growth opportunities is like mapping a constellation. If we view each idea as a single star, we can create and identify patterns that add dimension and understanding by generating more ideas. Then we prioritize. Rather than pursuing a single direction, this method helps increase the success rate of growth initiatives.

    Mapping the constellation of ideas also forces us to think in systems. It allows us to tie the single idea or experience to the broader value proposition driving the company. We can see the ripple effect it produces throughout the organization - from R&D to marketing, sales to operations, and HR to the executive team.

    Our work on innovation strategy develops opportunity spaces based on user needs, trends, competition, benchmarks, and your capabilities. Concepts define different opportunity spaces, then prioritize to make them actionable and meaningful for your organization.
    Peopledesign Innovation Pipeline

    Offer Development

    Where the Innovation Strategy work maps open spaces, Offer Development takes a tighter look at bringing a specific opportunity to life. The work starts with refining an idea through prototyping at different levels of fidelity, from sketches and descriptions to storyboards, to something more interactive until it is finalized and ready for launch. Product/Service strategy can come out of the Innovation Strategy, or perhaps your organization may have bits and pieces of the option already and is asking a few key questions to put a frame around it.

    Assume continuous improvement for both innovation and offer initiatives. Before launch, think about metrics to get the most out of your efforts. Seek feedback as a new project makes its way to the customer. Don’t be swayed by a single comment here or there, but collect them. Cluster them. Look for a deeper meaning, then adjust. Whether through agile methodologies or simply surveys, it’s essential to learn and adapt, not letting perfection get in the way of your launch.
    Peopledesign Offer Development

    Organizational Appetite for Innovation

    All our projects go through the same process, but the jumping-off point is determined based on the organization’s needs and appetite for change.

    Peopledesign - Vision, Growth, Activation

    Chart Your Path

    There are many ways to succeed. One way to fail is not to get started. Consider your innovation horizon and take steps to adjust your trajectory toward a healthy future.

    From time to time, leaders need to take a step back and re-evaluate their path. Is the organization heading towards a future-growth state? Is the internal team onboard? Are you being intentional about your actions to get there?

    Identify and map opportunities like a constellation. Refine, learn, and adjust in seamless feedback loops. Progress comes from connections that spark innovation and decisive action.

    Change can’t always wait for tomorrow to come. Sometimes it needs to happen today. We help our clients engage their audiences through rebrands, employer branding, and programs.

    Ways to get started