Friday, March 28, 2008

Fugly Ducklings

Photo remixed from David Of Troy

How do you arrive at distinctive ideas when corporate America is such an unfertile environment for anything out of the ordinary?

Ideas on important initiatives do not go forward unless they’ve been validated by research. The research is done against the same people your competitors are using. The research methods are the same. The resulting insights are the same. And the ideas that ‘rise to the top’ are the same.

Great, now you have a ‘same’ idea. Beating your competition is now a matter of speed, money, and execution.

Enter the Fugly Duckling. A Fugly Duckling is the sort of idea that draws nervous giggles in the brainstorming session. They’re the ones that hit the floor first in focus groups. They die in the bottom left quadrant.

True, many of these Fugly Ducklings, if allowed to live, would grow up to be Fugly Ducks. But a few of them end up being breakout hits. Their very Fugliness gives them a massive head start in the market. Think of the Aeron chair. Fuuuuuugly!

While we’ve developed a research system that actively searches for Fugly Ducklings and gives them a chance to grow, we’re wondering if anyone else out there has any thoughts or solutions.

Have you ever had a Fugly Duckling on your hands? How do you support the rearing of Fugly Ducklings?

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