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    Donald Ross

    Donald Ross MBA, PhD is president and founder of Innovare. He’s led the successful development of hundreds of new products in consumer and business-to-business environments. His career in innovation spans 40 years. He started developing new food products for Hercules/PFW. He then led Ocean Spray’s product development as Director of Innovation helping them achieve a 10-fold increase in top-line growth.

    In 1999, he founded Innovare while working on his PhD at Tufts University. His research focused on how to help people process market information more easily to support healthier choices. That work is now a cornerstone of Innovare’s knowledge driven approach to innovation. 

    At Innovare Don guides client teams through the front-end discovery process building a shared knowledge of customer needs, market drivers, and enabling technology to guide product innovation. Don is a hands-on innovator, researcher, process facilitator and trainer with deep front-end of innovation expertise.


    5 Steps to Team Discovery — Creating Shared Market Insights to Guide Innovation

    The front-end of innovation is that early phase where teams generate ideas and transform them into winning strategies and new product concepts. However, the front-end is much more than an idea generation process. It is a team learning process designed to build a body of knowledge and shared insights that inform strategy and concept development. Rather than just jumping into brainstorming ideas, the best innovators begin with a systematic Discovery process to explore and define key market trends, customer needs, and technology opportunities, before concept development. This approach results in higher innovation success rates.

    This presentation will focus on how to conduct a systematic and repeatable Discovery in the front end. The approach uses proven research techniques in an immersive team learning environment. It is designed to help teams set aside preexisting and often limiting mental models and develop new shared insights critical for innovation success. 

    Immersive learning engages team members in series of direct hands-on learning experiences in five process steps. The Five Steps to Team Discovery provides a discovery research road map that is easily followed. These steps will be presented along with examples of their use in various innovation environments. 

    The presenter has applied immersive team learning in both consumer and industrial markets at leading companies including Bayer, Pepsi, Xerox, Praxair, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Dow, Sealed Air, Materion and others.  

    Immersive team learning instills a deep understanding about customer needs, drivers of the market, and technical possibilities among the front end team. That improves the team’s ability to define the problems to solve and focus where to innovate. It enables the team to leverage their diverse expertise to conceive superior market and product innovations. And finally, immersion provides a team mental model they can share throughout the organization, enhancing buy-in and implementation of their recommendations.



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