We live in a world grown skeptical of ‘new and improved’ products and services. Too often, the change is a marketing gimmick – the same old product in a new color, size or package. Sometimes a flashy new gadget or feature is sold as innovation. Invariably, these products fail to improve a company’s market share because they simply don’t offer customers anything they need.

Finding real market opportunities begins with discovering what your clients really need and understanding their challenges and problems. Starting with them, and adopting a ‘customer-centric focus’ will ensure that your innovation process really results in a useful new product or service, not just a gimmick or gadget added to an already existing product.

Customer service reps, salespeople, product developers and many others within your company likely already know an incredible amount about what your customers need and want, and why they turn to you for solutions. What most organizations need is a collaborative process that quickly taps that wealth of customer data to gather keen insights into potential new product and service concepts.

Bringing together your front line staff and asking the key questions that dig out the facts, issues and ideas that are important to your customers will allow you to discover the new idea that could be tomorrow’s game changer. Real innovation begins with a customer-centric approach that  ensures your new products and services actually meet the needs of clients and build corporate market share in a world cynical about the real value of ‘new and improved.’