You may need to develop new business ideas once-a-year, monthly, or even daily. How often depends on your business type, and how important originality is to you. However often you think reviews are needed, make sure you set aside some diary time. If you don't make time, it may never happen. (Remember, just 15 minutes is enough if you are using a DAVAR Grid).
The DAVAR Grid will give you a new perspective of your business. Here are the simple steps. First enter all past innovations you can recall on the grid. This quickly shows where you have kept fresh, and where things are getting a bit stale. Once you have completed the grid for the past, go one step more and fill in the future. If you are having trouble with future ideas, there are plenty of other tools to help (though it will take you longer than 15 minutes). These tools may include methods for idea creation, competitor analysis, or market planning. The main point is that you are setting a future direction for your activities.
|This Year||Chef Range||Start IDEA creation process|
|1 Year Ago||Cheesecake Flavours||Restaurant Chain|
|2 Years Ago||Organic Range||Computerised Booking System|
|3 Years Ago||Summer Fruit||Inflationary Increase|
|4 Years Ago||Low Calorie Range||Independent Traders||First Trade Show||Fast Freeze|
The grid lets you see potential gaps very quickly. In the example, the ice cream company has emphasised innovation through product development (that column is full). It may be that the industry demands new products, however the places for selling these products have not changed. Too few of the right people are getting to know about these fantastic flavours. This year things will change. After completing the grid, the company are learning about creative brainstorming and generating more, and better, ideas. Continuing with this example, here are some ideas for the company to complete next year:
Product: Reduce the product range.
Price: Readjust pricing to fit their premium image.
Place: Consider joint venture with top-brand supermarket lines.
Promotion: Get publicity from celebrity chef endorsement.
Process: Resolve to update the DAVAR grid every six months.
The objective of the grid is to keep fresh ideas in all the key business areas. If conditions require, you can also decide not to fill in one of the future grid squares.
Every business has it's own timing cycle, and the grid can easily be changed to show weeks, months, or seasons. The columns can be customised to other business parameters, or for a personal lifestyle review. Choose your own DAta VARiables: for example in a personal life plan you could substitute product, price, place etc., with relationships, health, family etc.