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Tim Morey - Why innovation has become a main driver

Frog, founded in Germany back in 1969, is now an internationally acting strategy and design company. We visited them in their remarkable office in San Francisco and talked with Vice President Tim Morey and heard about a few of their main messages.

Always enhance the customer experience!

“Frogers” help their customers to design products and services. Recruiting the right people for Frog is one of the biggest challenges. The teams are highly diverse and on three designers comes one engineer. Today Tim sees a clear trend away from designing “isolated” products to designing a complete customer experience. He refers to a case where Frog redesigned the user experience for the Walt Disney World in Orlando. For the Frogers the customer experience journey started already in the users homes with the memories of their last visit in Disneyland. This led to a complete redesign of many details in Disney World´s interaction with its customers. And it starts long before they even show up at the entrance of the amusement park (see: https://www.fastcompany.com/3044283/the-messy-business-of-reinventing-happiness).

Tim authentically emphasizes on how important it is to start all these efforts with the customer. The innovation tools that Frogers use for this user centric approach have been developed over many years. They include lots of user interviews, putting on the customer’s shoes and doing context research or applying future casting. The credo is: only if you deeply emphasize with the customers you can really enhance their experience.

Play to win or play not to lose

We also discussed the driving forces why innovation is now becoming an increasingly hot topic. For the past 20 to 40 years for many companies the focus was on optimization of cost & efficiency. Today they can no longer ensure their survival with this approach but rather require revenue enhancement to thrive.

Tim sees basically two motivations. Customers that “play to win” are customers that innovate beyond their existing portfolio of value propositions. They proactively want to add new products and services to their portfolio in good time.

On the other side there are more and more customers that “play not to lose”. These customers might not have focused so much on radical innovation in the past. But now they sense that their existing portfolio is in parts or completely attacked by disruptive innovations. In order to survive they not only need new products or services but also new business models and a revised innovation strategy. Basically this requires the willingness for “self-disruption”. This can be a very hard process for well-established incumbents. It often means to let go traditions. But the threat of being disrupted is today ever growing. The good news is, if you do not wait until it is too late and approach it in the right way by coming up with self-disruptive innovative value propositions you can still defend and even improve your competitive position.

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