In the world of hyper-innovation, every company needs to address the digital unknown. When people talk about exploring white space in innovation or the art of the impossible, they are often referring to the need to explore under-served markets or businesses that are outside their core. White space is where unmet and unarticulated needs are uncovered to create digital innovation opportunities. It is where products and services don’t exist based on the present understanding of values, definitions of business, or even existing competencies.
White space is a process and tool that allows us to look at the landscape up and down the value chain with a new lens. It can help uncover opportunities that are not obvious; it can identify new openings untouched by competitors, or it can be considered part of what was traditionally deemed a remote, different industry or outside the boundaries of the firm, and made possible by digital.
White space is also an important outcome of customer inquiries and the discovery process, which leads to new profit growth opportunities by defining potential gaps in existing markets. The process can be used to identify entirely new markets or it can be used to map incremental innovation in products or services. It can also be a new source of customer value that can be translated to economic value.
Many companies are reluctant to enter any white space because of the unknowns. White space can cannibalize existing products or services, it can require extensive system design and support, and in some cases, it can require very different business models. It can create a lot of discomfort too when companies look at their own existing channels, organization design, processes, and legacy systems. As a result, this often leads to people not wanting to take any risks, and they instinctively retreat to their core or close extensions of the core. There are dilemmas facing most companies. The process of stepping back to look at the white space around us often brings us face to face with those dilemmas.
Deciding what to consider adjacencies, however, is another art. Do we look at the core from competencies, brand, or assets? How do we decide, in this fast-changing world, what are attainable adjacencies? This is why we are becoming part of Cognizant Digital Business, combining our world-class innovation, design, and prototyping capabilities with Cognizant’s leading technology expertise at scale. It puts us in a strong position to help some of the most well known clients in the world rethink and reinvent new white spaces.
This new chapter stems from the original vision of founders Idris Mootee, Scott Friedmann, and Cheesan Chew to build a global strategic innovation and experience design firm—a new kind of company where design meets business, human science meets data science, insight meets foresight, and empathy meets economics. Over our nine-year history, Idea Couture has developed innovation processes and toolkits that work across industries, from healthcare and consumer products, to financial services and electronics. Across these and many other sectors, we’ve made our mark—a legacy of corporate imagination and applied design thinking—manifested in innovative concepts, new products, unique experiences, and business models; in the cultural shifts we’ve created in client organizations; and in the human-centric, future-oriented strategic perspectives we’ve provided. Together, we are exploring our own white spaces as well as those of our clients.