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By Carter Cast and David Schonthal

Forbes_Carter_Cast_David _Schonthal

Organic growth has softened. Purchase frequency has slowed. What to do? When pressed to innovate, many corporations have the same knee-jerk reaction: to hire people and spend money. They create cross-functional task-force teams and launch expensive, time-consuming market research studies, generating mounds of data, but to little effect.

Instead of helping a company bring new ideas to market, these efforts at spurring innovation often lead to counterproductive results, distancing the firm from the very group it wants to serve: their buying public. Instead of observing customers first-hand and drawing insights from their behavior, the company’s innovation teams becomes bogged down and bleary-eyed, managing task force meeting calendars and wading through reams of purchase rate propensities and lifetime value projections. Process gets in the way of progress. Company decision-makers find themselves staring at well-constructed PowerPoint decks and Excel models but are no closer to uncovering the searing insights that will translate into highly desired new products and services.

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