Hit for six: TLA’s Key Takeaways from Jonathan Levav’s innovation masterclass

On Friday, Stanford Graduate School of Business Professor Jonathan Levav hosted an ideas and innovation session in Liverpool attended by some of the city’s most notable creative business.  

Inspired by Silicon Valley, the event was packed with great insights into how companies can consistently and regularly produce great ideas. We asked some of the TLA team who attended the session to share their big takeaways:

1. Psychological needs are a key pillar of consumer choice.

Apple products are not the cheapest in their respective markets. They’re often not the best either, with less features than their rivals. But what they do is satiate the consumers’ psychological desires. The prestige. The presumed ease of use. They make the thought of having an iPhone feel good. – Dan Potter

2. Make what you can sell, don’t sell what you can make.

In product development, there can be a rush to build and ship as many ‘innovative’ features as possible without an understanding as to whether or not they’re actually something that the end user wants to buy. With that approach, businesses risk building a product that is inferior and too complex. And, worst of all, that doesn’t actually solve a need. – Paul Earnden

3. Prepare well to ideate well.

Ideation involves a lot more planning and preparation than you might realise and starts before the actual session. Going for a walk, or even a few drinks(!), beforehand can open up the mind to new possibilities. And having the session on a Friday or at a time when people are more tired, when they self-regulate less, can actually lead to better ideas. – Kristian Brown

4. Follow a process. Constraint breeds creativity.

Ideation is far more successful if there is structure and a clear process to follow. For example, Task unification (where you assign a new task to an existing item (e.g. iPhone case/battery combination); Separation (such as how car radios used to have façade separated from actual radio to prevent theft); Multiplication (like when old combination music systems were swapped out for separates); Attribute Dependency (which involves mapping internal attributes against external attributes/requirements see where additional value can be created); or Brainwriting (which involves writing an idea down on a piece of paper and passing it to the next person to develop further). – Ed Clark

5. Develop your idea before you share. 

Not all ideas need to be developed in collaboration. If you have a vision, sharing it with teammates too early can see it go off in a direction you hadn’t planned or wanted (maybe for the better, maybe not). By developing your idea further in isolation before you share, you can seek the input of others at the point when they can help you bring your vision to life. – Steve Timmis

6. Simplicity leads to innovation.

Perfection is attained not when there’s nothing left to add, but when there’s nothing to take away. Start by making a list of the attributes a product or product type has and experiment with removing them one-by-one. The more simple the solution to your customer’s needs, the better the product will be. – Rachel Hellon

Visit TLA’s LinkedIn account for more feedback on the Jonathan Levav event.