Business owners and their sales and marketing teams benefit immensely when they take the time to understand more about the quirky and irrational nature of effective persuasion. Human psychology is often incorporated into consumer driven marketing and sales, but sometimes gets trumped by market and segment analytics in a B2B (business-to-business) context. For B2B businesses, giving sufficient credence to the role that humans play in the persuasion dance is an often overlooked but excellent place to start your go-to-market plan development or refinement. For insight into enhancing and…

As I wrap up this series of posts on ways in which you can explore innovation opportunities for your business, I wanted to share a story to address a question I’ve gotten frequently regarding my business’ name,  “Why Lumen Strategies?” Believe it or not the two are very related! I have a passion for photography, and dream of someday after lots of practice and dedication to the art that I will be taking artistic works of photographic art that I can share with others.  About the same time as I…

Innovation, much like ‘strategy’ requires a lot of discipline around continuously assessing and measuring resource allocation (time, money, people, energy, etc.) to assure you have it calibrated for optimal results.  I have had the opportunity to work with some very interesting groups of startup leaders since I launched my business.  An exercise that always yields a few “Ahhhah” moments is one relating to digging into core and context as part of exploring opportunities for innovation. I first became intrigued with the core and context model for resource allocation…

The opportunity to delve in and really get to the essence of a value proposition can be an excellent opportunity to innovate and differentiate your company and offers through a myriad of ways.  The actionable outcome of exploring your value proposition and how it plays out in your offers is to identify gaps and areas to refine your offer through either strategic partnerships, addition of new elements, different packaging and pricing, and more.  Wikipedia defines the  “whole product” as “the product augmented by everything that is needed for…

It is an age old saying, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  We are not all in the business of delivering beautiful, but all businesses benefit from the humble realization that perceived value, that value which is seen from the eyes of the customer is the only “value” that matters! So, when a company seeks ways to innovate in order to grow their business, delving into the state of their value proposition is time well spent.  Companies who practice this introspection on the clarity and validity…

Remember that lovable donkey in Shrek?  Even though my kids are now in college, we still play the ‘guess the movie game,’  when together. Someone blurts out a movie line in response to an event or statement and waits to see who first identities the source movie. Some of our favorite lines come from Shrek.  “Blue flower, red thorn…” was the mantra that Donkey repeated when looking for a plant with healing powers to help his buddy Shrek.  But the end of the mantra was, “this would be…

Maybe on the surface you believe that your customers and your potential customers all have a pretty similar set of needs and wants.  You may be perplexed to find that there are unexpected gaps in your success rate with certain customer types.   No worries, knowing what you did not know before (or learning that you may have been wrong about what you assumed to be true) is no reason for discouragement!  In fact, you may have just found a valuable nugget for focusing your innovation opportunity exploration!…

Why am I suggesting in this series about five areas you can explore to uncover innovation opportunities that you bother asking about your customers needs or wants as a path to identifying these innovation opportunities?  Let’s face it, it has been shared often and in varying contexts that Steve Jobs famously said: ‘If you ask someone what they want, when they have no idea of new innovation, they will use their present paradigm as the benchmark. The result will be an adaptation of what already exists, rather than new concepts.’  …

Business owners live and breathe their businesses and are the very individuals most motivated to identify breakthrough solutions to issues or breakthrough ways to capture new opportunity.  Sometimes, however, it is the connection and the closeness to the business that can create blind spots and result in missed or slighted opportunities for growth and success.   A fellow Tarheel and well known poet and author, Robert Morgan,  once said that “Distance not only gives nostalgia, but perspective and maybe objectivity.”   And “distance” in various forms can be quite healthy…

I love art, so I sometimes take liberties with analogies related to art and business, because the visual often serves as an amazing source for igniting my own creativity and even prompting solutions when problem solving.  Many of you may be  familiar with M.C. Escher, and as such, you know that he was fascinated with creating unique studies of perspectives and that he used perspective playfully in many of his drawings and etchings such as the one featured below titled “Relativity.” Escher once was quoted as saying, “Only…