Author:Deirdre Walters

Intentional Sustainability – Designing It Right From The Start

So much of the sustainability conversation is influenced by our rear view mirror, as we attempt to fix problems that have been created over time. And while this is important, what if we could design sustainability into our propositions right from the beginning? What should a product or service with sustainability at its core look like across different sectors? And how would it be different vs. today? At Untapped we see a clear trend across extensive sectors that sustainability has moved from being a ‘nice to have’ to a clear ‘must have’ in any product or service. In April’s blog, Molshee Vaid walked us through significant sustainability aspects within the fashion industry that are starting to become a reality. Vogue Business endorses this point of view in George Arnett’s sustainability report...

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Agile Research Tools for 2019 Part 2: De-Risking Innovation With The Right Blend Of Research

At Untapped, we feel that all good innovation comes from the resolution of a BIG tension – and nowhere do we see this more acutely than in the world of insight and ideas research. Often in the same breath, clients will tell us: ‘We need exciting, emotional insights and know qualitative research can unlock these’, but … ‘We really need the rigour of quantitative research to be sure of the data afterwards’. Combine this with: ‘We really need to focus on inventing for the future’,but … ‘We can’t alienate today’s consumer base’. And then overlay with the reality of operating in the challenges of today’s world: ‘I need results fast, really fast’, but … ‘My budget is much smaller than before, and my growth targets are the same (or higher)’.   So how can we help our clients de-risk their...

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Stuck In A Reorg-Rut? Tips To Get You Inventing Ideas Again

With over 80% of our clients going through a reorganisation in the last 12 months we frequently see first-hand the effect on innovation output – plenty of ‘innovation inertia’. While reorganising can be the right course of action in response to new business development, workplace efficiencies or address specific shareholder concerns, it frequently has a detrimental effect on innovation, especially in the short-medium term. In ‘Re-Org – How To Get It Right’ (Harvard Business Review) it’s states ‘No other management practice creates more anxiety and fear among employees or does more to distract them from their day-to-day jobs’. Not exactly an environment to inspire new ideas.   In our experience at Untapped, there are some really quick and easy approaches that you can use to help inspire new thinking, get ideas off...

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The Power of Digital Scouting for Product Design

Over the past 6 years Untapped has been busy building an incredible network of global freelance talent – from industrial designers, to futurists, to digital / data analysts and beyond. Our extended network of over 50 carefully chosen connections has played a vital role on our client projects and critically informing how we think and evolve as an innovation agency. This blog introduces Rosie Blake, founder of The Social Club, a Social Media consultancy and influencer community. Enjoy!   There’s no denying that Social Media is becoming a bigger and bigger part of our every day lives. For most of us, this probably just means regular notifications from our friends tagging us in Facebook video funnies, finding ourselves spending too long scrolling through Instagram or jumping straight on to Twitter whenever we need to complain...

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The Importance Of In-Context Research

Artificial Settings Lead To Artificial Responses No respondent sets out to be untruthful when doing research, but sometimes the act of sitting in a stuffy room, with 4 or 5 people they have never met, being asked questions about things they don’t normally talk or think about can dramatically influence the quality of how people respond. Respondents can over-intellectualise responses or forget important factors completely as the settings are out of context. We think the best way to invent breakthrough products and services is to visit people and understand them in their natural environment e.g. discuss their favourite food in their kitchens, beauty products in their bathrooms, or portable electronics on their commute.   What Can You Do When You Can’t (Or Shouldn’t) Be There? If budget and time were...

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Weaving Future Concepts

Over the past 6 years Untapped has been busy building an incredible network of global freelance talent - from industrial designers, to futurists, to digital / data analysts & beyond. Our extended network of over 50 carefully chosen connections has played a vital role on our client projects and critically informing how we think and evolve as an innovation agency. Over the coming months we will feature guest blogs to share their talent with you. This blog introduces Steph Rolph, a leading textile designer & material futurist who specializes in the intersect between craft & digital. Enjoy!   Who Weaves In 2018? When I introduce myself as a weaver the most common response is: “what do you make?” Unlike my ancestors who wove cloth to clothe or baskets to carry, I do not weave things as such....

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Design Fusion & Future Ideas

Collaborating With Designers To Imagine The Future At Untapped, our mantra is fusing the art & science of innovation to create big ideas for our clients. Over the past number of years, we continue to see the pattern that our best ideas and innovation come from fusing unobvious connections from many different sources. One deliberate way that we drive these unobvious connections is to involve a variety of freelance designers in our projects. While consumer insight is important in any project, we recognise that it is difficult for consumers to predict the future. They can tell you what they like, love and hate today, but imagining what is next is very challenging for them. In contrast, designers from the fashion, beauty, textile, industrial and other worlds are out there, every day creating...

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Beauty Innovation & Future Forecasting

The Beauty Trends & Innovation Conference September 2016 Following a fascinating day at the Beauty Trends & Innovation Conference last week we took some time to reflect on some overarching themes that emerged throughout the key note speeches, panel discussions and the all important coffee conversations (http://www.globalinsightconferences.com/). Before delving into specific consumer trends, there were some strong innovative business approaches seen throughout the day in response to ever changing consumer needs & consumer behaviours:   Business Approach 1. Speed Up Product launches take too long to get ideas to market. In a beauty world that is becoming faster every day products must get to market quickly before the idea is no longer relevant. Rather than spending R&D and Marketing budgets on 18+ month qualification programs, there was strong advocating of grass roots ‘real world’ research...

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Seeking the Emotional – Functional Balance

The term ‘jobs to be done’ is widely accepted as a way to unlock new innovation opportunities for products and services by starting to ask ‘what job is it doing?’ First coined by Clayton Christensen as a means to look at customer motivations, at Untapped we approach it a little differently, pushing the ‘jobs’ concept even further to seek an innate balance between functional and emotional jobs required of any product or service in order to succeed.   Functional Jobs ‘The function of design is letting design function’ (Micha Commeren). The product must work. It must work effortlessly and intuitively. We hear this again and again but what is effortless and intuitive? These broad ideas must be broken down further into specific functional jobs that the product must deliver to the end user. To...

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Story – A Must Do For Any Brand, Product Or Organisation Who Wants to Engage & Connect

A recent Sunday Times article grabbed our attention when it quoted Debelle de Montby’s review of the changing consumer demands in China, ‘The key lies in telling better stories, not adding new storeys to flagship shops. Chinese consumers expect a narrative from brands. They want to be charmed to think a label would like them as part of their story." And we see this beyond China. In every part of the world consumers are becoming more discerning about the brands and products that they choose, and the best story-tellers are rising to the top. So why do so many brands operate without a story? And why do so many attempts at story-telling fall flat? We believe that too often products are rushed into market without thinking about the connection that the...

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