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Innovation Versus Stuff That Sucks

Successful innovations meet the “WOW” test, for both customers and producers. In contrast, 100 years of better mousetraps by challengers caused no change in market leadership. Robin Lawton, best-selling author and presenter for this humorous, interactive and high-energy session was recently ranked #1 out of 88 speakers. Expect to be simultaneously entertained and enlightened while you discover answers to the following questions:shutterstock_269438381

  • How do you design for WOW, as experienced by customers? The answer is illustrated by innovations you’ll wish were yours.
  • What three (3) questions always uncover the mind of the customer, even when they couldn’t otherwise tell you? Customers often give us answers to just what we’ve asked, even when they are the wrong questions.
  • How do you encourage divergent thinking focused on outcomes versus convergent thinking about process and product improvement? Technically superior innovation is often something only another producer would love.


The Challenge

Many inventions and innovations arrive through serendipity: the happy coincidence of an accident turned into something new and wonderful. Don’t hold your breath for such success. On the other hand, what are the wow characteristics experienced by users of iTunes, Google search, one state’s tax booklet and elsewhere? This fast-paced session is about the intentional pursuit of innovative excellence.

There is a pattern with stuff that sucks. Don’t you hate the airport bathroom stalls you can’t fit into with your carry-on bags, the web site and phone directory that is organized in a way you don’t think, the hotel window shades that won’t close, the insurance bill you can’t understand (is that the goal?), the label you can’t read or remove and the equipment set-up instructions that omit the one step standing between you and success? That sure sucks. This doesn’t happen just by chance. There are definitely root causes at work.

Excellence is no fluke. A key to success addressed in this workshop has to do with point of view. While 20/20 may be our customer acuity, we often become as visually impaired as bats when we are in the producer role. And our hearing isn’t so good, either. Actually, it’s those folks we work with who have these afflictions. Certainly not ourselves. This session provides an altered view of the customer’s reality in a way you can immediately apply.

That would explain why we are inviting you to bring those wayward colleagues to a humorous and provocative session. Experience truth-telling and insights they (and you) can immediately apply to the benefit of your collective customers. Learn how to acquire both x-ray vision and 10X hearing regarding customer priorities.

Learning Objectives

You will leave this session knowing ten things:

  1. Principles that cause customer bliss
  2. Common (and apparently unknown) reasons customers mutter, “That sucks!”
  3. The roadmap to innovate for customer love and competitor envy
  4. The Vital Lies (delusions, excuses and myths) that constrain our success, such as:
    1. That is beyond our control.
    2. We are on the leading edge in our industry.
    3. Growth in customer demand proves they are satisfied.
    4. Customers don’t know what they want.
    5. Our performance measures confirm our excellence.
  5. Examples of past brand leaders, the innovators who replaced them and why
  6. The main principle enabling divergent thinking and innovation
  7. The #1 attribute required for a successful innovation (either product or service)
  8. Ten tactics for introducing an innovation
  9. Why improvement projects can be constrained by convergent thinking
  10. The steps you should take next to strengthen your improvement initiative


  • The 7 key principles to apply for innovation success
  • The critical few questions that uncover the voice, mind and heart of the customer
  • What makes customers mutter, “That sucks!”, and how to avoid being the target
  • The #1 attribute required for a successful service or product innovation
  • The Roadmap to innovate for customer love and competitor envy