This time last year, at the FutureBook 2017 conference, I had the pleasure of helping the co-founders of ThinkSprint show publishers how they could gain a deeper understanding of their disruptive ideas and business models, by applying outsider insight to stress-test their innovation concepts and help them maximise their opportunities.
We sent out a brief for publishers of all shapes and sizes to submit the ideas they wanted anonymously analysed, and we received 12 different but equally commercially-focused pitches from the industry – from start-ups as well as established businesses. Three concepts were shortlisted, run through with ThinkSprint’s specialist panels of innovators to unpick the strengths and potential pitfalls of each – and then discussed by us in depth with the FutureBook audience.
And that time is here again! Yes, ThinkSprint is back, and it's time for all FutureBook Live 2018 delegates to submit their briefs. If you've bought a ticket to the conference, you should be getting an email this morning with a link to the brief doc - a very simple form that will help you lay out your innovative idea concisely and clearly.
All you need to do is fill it in by 1pm tomorrow, Tuesday 27th and the ThinkSprint elves will get to work.
But why should you bother?
ThinkSprint’s methodology focuses on showing businesses how they can gain a much deeper understanding of new product lines or innovation. They believe that true innovation comes from invention combined with the right kind of commercialisation, and their business evolved from the need to test the market with an MVP (minimal viable product) in order to get F.A.I.L.ing (a Focused Attempt In Learning) right.
So this is an unparalleled chance to glean expert insight on your radical concepts – and we all know how challenging it can be to get a new idea off the ground. That’s not all though. Sam Reid, the founder of ThinkSprint, will also be sharing exclusively with attendees their new innovation planning tools - which will give a practical, easy-to-follow guide for getting your MVP developed and converted into something you can release to market faster.
Can you really afford to miss that?
At Rakuten Kobo, we are big fans of the ThinkSprint approach - of constantly iterating, testing and refining across the business. Early next year we will be empowering our authors to upload their own audiobooks directly to our platform through a unique set of tools, enabling KoboWritingLife authors to join the fastest growing area of the publishing industry and directly control their marketing and promotional activities without having to rely on aggregators.
So personally, unsurprisingly, I’m hoping that this year's ThinkSprint briefs will include some suggestions centred around audiobooks - as well as emerging immersive listening experiences, with the goal of exploiting voice-control and smart speaker technology. There have been exciting entrants making great use of this technology, but I feel there’s so much more potential for audio content to make more noise in the market (and we all know that publishers are increasingly investing more into growing their audio catalogue).
The only way to get the deep-dive analysis from ThinkSprint’s expert group of disrupters and start-ups for free is to get involved and send in your concepts for consideration. Even if you’re feeling shy and just want to hear us discuss others’ ideas, you'd be mad not to come along to the second FutureBookLive ThinkSprint - and learn how to F.A.I.L. faster.