4 December 2019

Innovation consulting is dead: 5 reasons to move to studio innovation

Pierre de Milly
Partner at Schoolab

What is an innovation consulting firm? 

Globalization and the complexity of business models during the 20th century gave rise to strategy consulting firms, allowing organizations to streamline and optimize their activities. 

Then, the digitalization of the world has seen the emergence of new models and with them, a constant need for large companies to find growth relays and innovate to maintain their competitiveness. The consulting firms then adopted a new string to their bow; innovation consultancy. 

However, in a world of constantly increasing complexity, the approach of innovation strategy consulting, while interesting, is limited. Indeed, the council brings an external and holistic look at an economic activity, but to go through an innovation process, it is necessary to go beyond observation, to the point of execution. This is the advantage of the innovation studio, which is a stakeholder and brings an entrepreneurial look at any innovation project. 

What is an innovation studio like Schoolab? 

Studio innovation is based on two main components. On the one hand, innovation experts mandated by the studio, whose mission is to appropriate the subject of their client and to coordinate the execution phase, but also to accompany the client in its progressive empowerment. On the other hand, intrapreneurs who are put in a position of co-creation and partnership with the studio and who learn by doing in contact with entrepreneurs and experts. Studio innovation is a place of diversity between entrepreneurs, designers, collaborators of large groups, experts and students who choose to innovate together, and learn by doing. 

The 3 fundamentals of business innovation 

Business disruptive innovation : be Customer centric

The great limitation of an innovation strategy consulting firm is based on its approach: it is no longer enough to propose a solution based on market research, it is necessary to understand the motivations of its users and question the origin of the problem observed.

Allowing you to make a mistake 

“Fail fast, fail often” is a mantra adopted by many California startups. Indeed, the acceptance of failure and errors as being fully integrated into the creative process allows to free themselves and give free rein to the creativity of the teams. 

Diversity fosters innovation

The numbers have not finished proving it: diversity and diversity boost innovation. According to a study by Global Contact, 75% of mixed teams in France were judged to be ‘over-performing’ by their manager (compared to 59% for non-mixed teams).

Cabinet vs Innovation Studio: 2 Opposing Approaches to Business Innovation

1. We teach you how to do

A strategy consulting firm will tell you how to position yourself in relation to your market with a top-down approach where a studio innovation has prototyped and tested your future innovation

Once the strategic recommendations are made, it is time for consultants to end the first phase of their mission, moving to a sequential set of recommendations. Tracking and passing the subject is then a complex subject. However, as soon as possible, companies must engage in the practice and experimentation of innovative ideas, because true success is often achieved after several failures and above all, after testing with a real target… 

With the Lean Factory Schoolab, companies are invited to go beyond simply diagnosing innovation: they are accompanied by the idea of a solution to its introduction on the market, through its agile prototyping, all while adopting a iterative approach, in contrast to the sequential phases of traditional firms. 

2. A consulting firm makes powerpoints for you, a studio innovation does with you and teaches you how to do

The great disadvantage of consulting firms is, by their decorated nature to the organization they accompany, the dependence they create: competence and information do not belong to the client.

On the contrary, studio innovation is based on the principles of learning by doing, and allows the company’s employees, through ideation and prototyping workshops, to adopt a mindset and an approach entrepreneurship, particularly through the real-life test. 

3. Innovation consulting companies still use a ‘top down’ approach that is not based on analysis of users’ needs

Studio innovation allows us to adopt an unbiased observation borrowed from the methodologies of the humanities to understand the fundamental problems of the user. This is a differentiating approach from that of innovation consulting firms, because it is a matter of observing the user rather than observing the market, which gives studio innovation the advantage of being able to practice both innovation incremental, but also disruptive. 

The innovation studio also allows rapid testing phases to be set up in real-life situations, during which teams prototype a solution that is directly put in the hands of end-users, in situations Real. 

On the basis of these two principles, it is thus possible to define innovations as closely as possible to the real needs observed on the ground, and therefore to identify the potential for innovation and economics of a solution, where the board will have a concentric circles: macroeconomic assumptions that give rise to microeconomic recommendations, without them being confronted with the reality of consumers.

4. A studio innovation to foster diversity for more creativity

Schoolab is at the same time an atypical place, conducive to innovation, but it is also a diverse community of individuals with varied profiles: entrepreneurs, students, employees in large companies, … come together to collaborate on projects. What brings them together around the projects? A common obsession: that of innovating for the customer, adopting a customer centric approach, confronting the reality of the field and their prospects, contrary to the classic approach of quantitative studies.

At Schoolab, we encourage diversity, multidisciplinarity: learning by doing with complementary profiles, passing on knowledge acquired through experience and persevering until we find the ideal solution for our customers, are our drivers. 

“This is the first time I see a workspace where people with very different profiles talk to each other and really interact. It really encourages exchanges!”

Constant Revest, Founder of the Lord Agency, Resident Schoolab Saint Lazarus

5. The innovation consulting firm made in place of your teams, Schoolab does with you and allows a real acculturation

In order to really engage the teams of employees in an innovation approach, it is necessary to involve them from the beginning of a project. That’s why we work to get the employees on a project as soon as possible, to make them step up their skills in contact with our teams, and by discovering new methodologies and tools. As learning is rooted in real experience, the skills acquired are then reintegrated into the organization after the mission. 

Unlike an innovation consulting companies, our goal is to grow your teams to empower them as quickly as possible in your innovation approach. As such, we encourage experimentation and the right to error: everyone learns from their experiences, whether positive or negative.

Today, the choice is yours: do you need yet another theoretical briefing produced by an innovation strategy consultancy, or do you need to launch an innovation that responds precisely to its market as quickly as possible? Schoolab studio innovation is at your disposal: if you’re tired of powerpoints, call us.

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