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Hunting Growth In The Third Sector

At Untapped, we are passionate about giving back, and ensure that we donate our time to good causes and third sector groups every year such as SportInspired, The British Science Association and WISE (Women in STEM).  We think innovation is important in every part of society. As this month’s guest blog coincides with World Charity Day, we have invited our new associate, Heather Newton, to share her deep experience in how best to innovate in the third sector. She explores how the tension of innovating in a climate of risk aversion has taught her lessons that are super-relevant beyond the third sector. Happy reading and thanks to Heather!   It’s not new news that innovation demands both an element of risk-taking in trying new things, and a willingness to accept that some...

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2019 Degree Show Round Up – 4 Big Themes

At Untapped, we are passionate about connecting human needs, technical possibilities and future trends, and nowhere is this seen more brilliantly than the year end degree shows of some of the UK’s best university programs. This year we visited University Of The Arts Central St. Martins, The Royal College Of Art, University Of The West Of England, amongst others, to experience new thinking from students of Creative Product Design, Service Design, Textile Design, Innovation Management and Material Futures. Here is our round up of the ‘4 Big Themes’ seen in the brightest, emerging ideas. Do More With Less Unsurprisingly a central theme to all of the degree shows was sustainability and doing more with less. At UWE we loved Thomas’ Elwescustom eye-glasses pressing technique which uses recyclable plastic to ‘make something different’ and...

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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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Agile Research Tools for 2019 – Part 1

Research budgets are tighter than ever, the geo-political climate is encouraging risk-averse behaviour and there are increasing numbers of sophisticated research tools available, from online qualitative communities to AI/tech-enabled big data harnessing techniques.  So how do you navigate the choice and make a smart decision that will maximise your research money invested? In the first part of our exploration into agile research tools, we take a look at agile tools for qualitative research.   Online Qualitative Research Vs. Face To Face The case is becoming ever stronger for online research as methodologies become more sophisticated and agile.  To give a couple of examples; your research question might be (remember, always start with this, not the methodology) “How are your users interacting with a category while shopping or using a product?”  Online diaries would allow...

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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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6 Surprises From 6 Months With Alexa

At Untapped, we use a lot of different research techniques to help clients find out how people actually use and integrate new products and emerging technologies into their lives, and what attributes and features can optimise their experience.  So, it’s interesting to reflect on my personal experience of this integration process with one of the “technologies of the moment” – the Amazon Echo. All the predictions point to Voice Assistants being at a tipping point where they are about to become ubiquitous in our lives (https://disruptionhub.com/2018-voice-based-assistants/). Some research even estimates that over 50% of consumers in Germany, UK and France already use voice assistants. It’s now been 6 months since I got an Amazon Echo.  While the voice activation feels both more instinctive and immediate, these are the surprises about how I’m actually getting...

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Getting To A Minimum Viable Product

Over recent weeks the question of how to get a minimum viable product has arisen both on a project with a long standing client of Untapped, as well as with the AllBright Academy, an organisation that helps support and fund female business founders, for whom we have created a webinar on the subject.  We wanted to share some thoughts on the topic. Let’s start with a definition.  According to Wikipedia, A minimum viable product (MVP) is a product with just enough features to satisfy early customers, and to provide feedback for future product development.  Some experts suggest that in business to business transactions an MVP also means saleable: "it’s not an MVP until you sell it. Viable means you can sell it.   Iterative Prototyping We believe that before you get to an MVP...

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5 Ways to Harness Trends Without Force-Feeding

Last month, I attended the Food & Drinks Trends and Insights Conference in London, where a wide range of food industry leaders spoke about current and emerging category trends and the challenges facing the industry. There was, of course, great discussion on new trends – Hawaiian & Pacific Food, protein, new meats, white whisky, mead and seaweed - to name a few.  But there was also one fundamental question being asked: How do you get the balance right between being trend-led or consumer-led? In other words, how do you prioritise the right trends (the ones that will stick) and translate them into products that consumers really want, instead of foisting them towards the consumer in the hope that they will embrace the trend? At Untapped we see Future Forecasting and trends understanding as...

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Insight or Diagnosis: Are you innovating with your consumer?

Last week, we had the pleasure of joining an open innovation workshop organized by Astrocyte Consulting, looking at how to drive patient engagement in healthcare.  This sector is embracing the need for a meaningful shift towards more customer focus in its innovation (see Tim Mustill’s recent blog “Are we really, truly embracing patient centricity?" It was an inspiring session, with experts from different areas of health and pharma sectors discussing the challenges of driving “patient-centric” innovation and sharing early case studies of success. As Untapped, we shared the principles of how we approach consumer-centric innovation and found that many of the core ideas were very relevant to the challenges.  We talked about how we use Story Thinking to keep the consumer as hero through the journey to a better outcome.  This is...

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