Thursday, September 29, 2011

Insight Driven Innovation: The Case of Facebook

Let’s talk about Facebook, shall we?
Innovative? Yes.
Driven? Yes.
Insight driven? Meh.

In case you haven’t logged into your Facebook account recently, you have missed a few… changes. “Top stories” are broken out on the top of the homepage, followed by “recent stories,” and a “ticker” now provides a live-feed of all ongoing information (a Facebook inside a Facebook?). Innovation – great. Problem? Outrage. User outrage. They flocked to Twitter and soon “new Facebook” among the top discussed topics on the social media site.

Where did it go so wrong? I once heard someone say (I wish I could remember who) that innovation is only meaningful if the consumer wants it and it solves a problem. By this statement, innovation is only meaningful if it is insight driven. I believe that many B2C organizations understand that technology is important, social media is almost imperative, and increasing sales are a must. With increasing pressure from stakeholders to perform, innovation, it can be argued, is at the forefront of many conversations. Without a need from the consumer for such innovation however, it’s pointless and provides a reason for the consumer to believe that the organization can’t meet their needs – it doesn’t understand them.

Facebook is in a unique position that many organizations wishes they were in. It seems that any changes, good or bad, cannot keep people away from the social network. In part, I believe that’s because they have invested so much in the original innovation that is - Facebook. Users will get used to the changes, and move on. Can your organization afford to take that risk?

Other examples of insight driven innovation will come in the weeks leading up to The Market Research Event. But, you should know, there will be some interesting discussion around the topic at the actual Event in Orlando, Florida this November.

Garrett McGuire is a Consumer Insights Analyst for a major retailer. His areas of focus are advertising research, brand equity, and providing consumer insights for many marketing initiatives. Prior to his current position, he was a graduate student at Michigan State University where he began his blog, "The Journal of mAD Man," that explains the theories and methods of advertising.





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