Staffing and recruitment firms who are achieving the fastest growth in margin percentage and dollars are taking their cues from some of the best at innovation: Starbucks, Airbnb, Warby Parker, Patagonia, Kickstarter, and Apple. Instead of bombarding tons of prospects with mundane sales and marketing pitches, hoping to get them to care about their offerings, they are figuring out what matters most to these buyers, then delighting them, one person at a time. This approach, called Empathetic Innovation, can be achieved through the Innovation Equation:

Good or Great
PLUS Irresistible Value
MINUS Labor and Complexity
EQUALS Sustainable Innovation

Starting with what you do that is already good or great, value is added based upon insightful, empathetic understanding of the customer, while reducing the amount of effort and complexity to deliver that service and value. All together, this creates sustainable, meaningful innovation.

Why does this work? The following illustrates why:

What do we mean by empathy in terms of creativity and innovation? For us, it’s the ability to see an experience through another person’s eyes, to recognize why people do what they do. … Gaining empathy can take some time and resourcefulness. But there is nothing like observing the person you’re creating something for to spark new insights. … We’ve found that figuring out what other people actually need is what leads to the most significant innovations. In other words, empathy is a gateway to the better and sometimes surprising insights that can help distinguish your idea or approach. — DAVID KELLEY AND TOM KELLEY, CREATIVE CONFIDENCE

When we empathize, then solutionize (the act of applying innovation based upon why people do what they do), it’s as close as we can get to waving a magic wand, often creating surprising delight for those we serve.

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