There’s a opportunity facing analysts. It arises from a gap between what analysts offer and what their clients are looking for. Analyst firms traditionally use analytical skills which, by focussing research through structured and sequential methods, tend to blinker and confine their analysis. In today’s difficult market, businesses often need creative solutions. Both vendors and users of high technology need to develop creative solutions. Creativity is a word that sometimes sounds a little strange in a technology setting. Many businesspeople think of brainstorming as the sum total of creativity’s place in the workplace. In fact, many business people need to ‘de-tox’ their process because structured and analytic thinking works better for stable, late-majority, processes but not for organisations that are looking for radically new ways of developing new solutions, finding ways to transform experiences.
This requires *strategic* creativity, not just a toolbox of tactics. Business people need open minds to develop new approaches. Managers need the motivation and methods for adding value and for solve problems (including those which are not similar to past ones) . Intelligence needs to be used flexibly, rather than by the pattern recognition that analysts excel at. This flexibility requires a combination of both playfulness and maturity to look beyond what we already know.
Analysts often work by looking for incremental changes to meet users’ already-stated needs. They often lack a ‘innovation push’ approach, trying to identify new opportunities, rather than just a ‘demand pull’ approach. Analysts are often poorly equipped to anticipate changes, to speculate or to redesign business processes in a way that focusses on the value derived from customer experience. Analysts focus on hard RoI, rather than the crazy, risky need to imagine.
What can analyst firms do to help clients envision new ways out outperforming already-established best practise and of risking crazy ideas? In particular, this requires an open and interactive method for getting ideas, learning from others and experimenting. That is very different from the uninspiring, unoriginal, conservative, repetition-based, approaches which flow from stable, permanent research processes.