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Innovation&: Push & Pull Mechanism

Updated: Oct 11, 2023


Innovation Push & Pull Mechanism

Image: Different forces pull the user from existing solutions to new ones and back.


Imagine you have an innovative idea, a revolutionary product, or a groundbreaking service. You firmly believe that it can be the solution to a specific problem and can change the world. But here's the critical question: Will it genuinely help the users? Will it fulfill their needs? To answer these questions, you must put yourself in their shoes, understand their challenges, desires, and fears. Empathy is the tool that allows us to bridge the gap between our innovative ideas and the users' needs. It involves listening to their stories, understanding their experiences, and capturing their emotions resulting in their Push & Pull Mechanism in innovation. Ultimately, it's the user who decides whether an innovation will be successful or not. No matter how brilliant an idea may be, it won't be embraced if it doesn't meet the users' needs and expectations.


What drives the user out of the status quo (Problem-Push)?

The user is driven out of the status quo when they feel a deficit. A sense of lack, whether in practical or emotional terms. This leads the user to recognize that something is missing or that they haven't achieved the desired result so far. This realization motivates the user to actively seek alternatives and explore new paths.


Example: The user owns an old digital camera and takes photos of their child during sports events. The photos are either blurry or miss capturing the right moments.


What attracts the user to the new solution (Solution-Pull)?

The new solution often has a special (technical) appeal. It can resonate with the user in various ways. Firstly, it offers clear added value, innovative features, or the ability to achieve goals faster and more efficiently. Secondly, social comparison or peer influence may play a role. When the user sees that others have already had positive experiences with the new solution, they will be motivated to try it themselves.


Example: The user actively searches on platforms using keywords like "camera to capture good sports shots of my child" and is drawn in by text like "Many parents use this brand/type" and ends up looking at traditional camera providers. They explore offers for digital single-lens reflex cameras.


What fears push the user away from the new solution (Solution-Push)?

Despite the appeal of the new solution, fears and concerns may arise that deter the user from taking the leap. Humans are creatures of habit, and change can trigger uncertainty. A common fear is the fear of the unknown. The user may wonder if they'll have to learn something new, if the new solution will meet their expectations, or if it might lead to difficulties. Fear of (social) loss may also play a role. The user fears that, in the process of change, they might lose something valuable or familiar.


Example: The user reads about digital camera providers and encounters terms like capturing image sequences, zoom modes, focal lengths, selective focus, megapixels, CMOS, Full-HD, WLAN/Bluetooth, etc. All the user wants is to take a good photo, not learn something new, and especially not deal with technical details.


What pulls the user back into the old pattern (Problem-Pull)?

Sometimes, even after trying the new solution, the user is pulled back into their old habits. One main reason for this is comfort and the way our brains function. The familiar provides security and a comfort zone. The user knows what to expect and how to navigate in that environment. The challenges and uncertainties of the new solution can be discouraging and lead the user to retreat to the old ways.

Example: The user feels overwhelmed with the selection and continues to take "poor" photos with the old camera.


Conclusion - Innovation Push & Pull Mechanism

The user ultimately decides whether an offering is a solution for them, not the provider.

Innovation and empathy go hand in hand when it comes to moving the user away from their existing path and making new solutions attractive. By putting the user at the center and understanding their motivations, concerns, and fears, companies can develop innovative solutions tailored to their real needs. It's essential to involve the user in the innovation process, taking their perspective seriously and addressing their needs. Ultimately, the decision of whether the offering is a solution for the user lies with the user themselves. It's essential to give them the freedom to try and evaluate the new solution. Companies should listen to user feedback and make adjustments if necessary to ensure that their innovations genuinely add value. By taking an empathetic approach and considering the individual needs and desires of the users, companies can successfully create innovative solutions and achieve long-term success.


Example: Smartphones, besides having increasingly better camera quality, have received many additional features, allowing anyone to take professional photos and disrupting the market for traditional compact digital cameras.


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