Over the last two decades, I have had the pleasure of working with some of the world’s most innovative business leaders to help develop innovative solutions and services for companies big and small. During that time, I have come across numerous methodologies for coming up with ground breaking innovations, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. The power of the White Space Innovation process lies in its ability to help business executives see beyond their current sphere of influence to identify more creative solutions to their problems.
What is White Space Innovation, and what are best practices, tools and online templates for teams and organizations?
When thinking about White Space Innovation, it might be easiest to think about a big, blank whiteboard or dry erase board. White Space Innovation is all about identifying and articulating unmet needs and opening up entirely new market opportunities outside of existing markets and business models through creative thinking and innovation.
In a nutshell, White Spaces are the unmet customer needs that have not yet been solved by existing solutions but could be met through the creation of a new product or service. White Space Innovation takes advantage of these opportunities through the creation of new solutions, products and ideas, sometimes using a different business model to implement these ideas.
Description of the White Space Innovation Process
To take advantage of a White Space opportunity, several steps should be taken:
First, Identify the White Space
White Space Innovation areas must be clearly defined based on what customers value. These values and unmet needs can be uncovered through research to determine what unmet needs are most important.
Second, Venture into the White Space
After identifying the White Space unmet needs, the business leader, entrepreneur or executive needs to brainstorm possible solutions to those problems and unmet needs in creative ways designed to add value to the organization. This also means developing a deep understanding of what needs to be invested and how can the business can spend resources in a sustainable way to develop these new products or solutions.
Finally, Implement the White Space Innovation Plan
After developing a set of products, services and ideas to pursue, it is advisable to invest resources on a small scale to test hypotheses around various assumptions that are critical to the plan. Conduct multiple small tests and carefully measure the effectiveness of these tests through customer feedback, sales and growth of the category.
The White Space Innovation Tool
I helped create the White Space Innovation tool on Praxie, a platform for automating business processes by creating online tools and apps for driving innovation. You can access the tool freely as a download here. It’s simple to use and is based on best practices I’ve gathered in the 3 decades I’ve spent as a strategic business consultant. Praxie’s digital platform goes far beyond other software tools by including progress dashboards, data integration from existing documents or other SaaS software, elegant intuitive designs, and full access on any desktop or mobile device.
About the Author
Soren Kaplan is the bestselling and award winning author of Leapfrogging and The Invisible Advantage, an Affiliate at the Center for Effective Organizations at USC’s Marshall School of Business, a columnist for Inc. Magazine, a globally recognized keynote speaker, and the Founder of Praxie. Business Insider and the Thinkers50 have named him one of the world’s top management thought leaders and consultants.