Lean Innovation with NABC

6 May 2013
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Reading time: 3 minutes

Many good practices exist to drive Lean Innovation. Everybody at Zühlke has some favorites. One of my favorites is NABC. Reason is: NABC is so simple, so efficient, so easy to understand, you do not even have to explain it in deep when running a NABC session with a group of people.

NABC stands for Needs, Approach, Benefits and Competition. NABC is a 30 minutes workshop format to sharpen one single idea for a new product or service with a crowd of people. The workshop is driven by the champion, typically the idea owner who wants to turn the idea into a great product or service.

NABC: Let’s improve this product idea so that your customers are excited about:
The champion starts the workshop. He summarizes the current status of his idea by presenting the audience in a clear and understandable way:

  1. Who the potential users of the product are and
  2. What needs the potential users have – in general and in respect of the product.

Next the champion explains – as well clearly and understandable – what his approach looks like today to satisfy the needs of the users. The champion energizes the NABC audience to support him best and give him feedback how to improve the current approach to create the best product on earth ever seen. Up to this point in maximum 10 minutes of the time passed by.

Now it is the party of the audience the champion invited. The audience works out additional strengths and opportunities that lead to benefits for the user of the product as well as for our organization. If the workshop starts with a positive mindset, soon a discussion will take place and form and design new ideas about strengths and improvements, so the benefits will be more precise, more focused. The attendees shall concentrate on

  • Specific strengths of the idea and what could be done that the strengths even get stronger
  • Improvements so that additional strengths could be created
  • The benefits for the users and for the own organization are clear and as precise as possible identified

Very important is to avoid a “yes, but” and “what will not work is” mindset in discussions. The positive mindset shall add only positive facts and ideas.

As well we discuss what our competition has to offer to take into account what the competing products are and what the USPs of our approach compared to the competition will be. If we can clearly identify USPs, our product will win when sold into our markets.

That’s it. That’s all. It is the champions responsibility to start with a clear and understandable setup; to lead through the discussion and foster positive thinking; to collect all the fantastic ideas and improvements found by the audience and to close and farewell the audience in a way they love to come back for a next session.

Yes…and the next session is ready to go when the champion incorporated all the tremendous feedback she got and is ready for the next round – until we feel ready to develop the product for the market and make our users happy.

Let’s NABC 🙂

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