One of my favorite new buzzwords is upcycling, the practice of converting old into new. I also love the concept; the idea of reinventing something that’s worn, tired, or broken for a productive second life holds promise as well as shortcuts. As with any new concept, though, the power is in the practice, not the cleverness of a new word. Buzzwords eventually fizzle if there’s no sizzle.
While it’s certainly not a new idea to talk to your customers, emerging technologies have encouraged many new ways to engage and interact. Unfortunately, these same technologies have allowed just about anyone to put together a group of consumers. As anyone who’s attended conferences knows, the panel participants make all the difference in the experience. Some speakers are riveting, some are inspirational—and some are so snooze-inducing you find yourself daydreaming about a second career as an expert panelist.
Ideas To Go has been a leader in the consumer panel upcycle movement. We’ve upcycled the concept of a consumer panel by adding focused recruits and hands-on creativity training. Our iCoN® panel—the Innovative Consumer Network—gives you the ability to check-in with customers who are recruited specifically for your brand category whenever you want to hear from them throughout your new product development process.
With iCoN® panelists, you get innovative problem-solvers. These consumers are ready to give you their thoughts and ideas so you don’t just get a sounding board for your ideas—you get suggestions, solutions and creative, actionable responses. Then when it comes time to bring all the marketing and market researchers together for a Creative Consumers® associates ideation session, you are already ahead of the competition.
So the next time you hear someone talking about consumer panels, ask yourself this: are their consumers creative and talented enough to take an idea from a buzzword to buzzworthy output that you can use?
Cynthia Ryan is an Emeritus Innovation Process Facilitator at Ideas To Go, an innovation agency that works with Fortune 500 companies in ideation and concept development to incorporate the voice of the consumer.