How Might We?
November 4, 2014
Anyway, the point of the blog was the importance of asking the right questions.
He told a story about Irish Spring, the distinctive green soap created by Colgate Palmolive in the early 1970s. It became an instant hit, a billion-dollar brand and the leader in its category that had previously been dominated by P&G.
What did P&G do? They immediately began working on their own version of a green-striped soap.
It's easy to get caught up in this kind of mindset.
Luckily for P&G, they invested in brainpower from outside their organization to help keep their creative teams on the cutting edge of innovation.
Like: How might we make a better soap? How might we make a more refreshing soap? How might we make a soap that conveys the imagery of a sandy, white beach?
Voila! COAST soap was created, and while it never bested Irish Spring, it made a lot of money for P&G.
If we, in Radio, had asked the right questions 25 or 30 years ago, we might be in a different place right now.
But it's not too late. It's not like we've lost our chance.
We just need to persuade those in charge of our radio companies to ask some good questions. Not like, how can we operate with even fewer people. Or, how can I hit my bonus this year, even if it hurts my radio station's listening experience.
- How might we find a way to let our listeners have more say in the songs we play?
- How might we use music research to expand our playlists rather than shrink them?
- How might we limit commercial inventory and still hit our revenue goals? What other revenue sources could we develop?
- How might we find and develop the air talent we'll need in the future?
- How might we let listeners create original, compelling content for our station websites?
- How might we produce content that is accessible at any time a listener chooses and on any device a listener chooses, especially mobile ones?
- How might we package information so that it's there when listeners want/need it, and not when they don't?
- How might we offer traffic reports that can be personalized for each one of our listeners, delivering alternate route information in real time and in a safe way?
- How might we improve the quality and effectiveness of our commercials so that we become true partners in the success of our clients?
- How might we provide accountability and measurability with our ads so we can prove they're reaching the ears our clients need to target?
- How might we structure our companies so that we continually attract the most creative, bright, and motivated programmers and talent?
- How might we use our reach to build closer relationships with individual listeners through our websites so that we offer them products and services they've told us they actually want from clients in our markets?
It's never too late to start asking the "How might we?" question, and once you start the process, it begins to sustain itself in a continual process of innovation.
Both Google and IDEO use the "How Might We?" method to begin their problem-solving process, and if it's good enough for two of the most successful and innovative companies in the world, it might be worth consideration inside your company too, don't you think?