How to Come Up With Better Products & Programs: The New Blue Zone Approach

The pressure for new products and programs is relentless. You can respond in one of two ways. Both take the same amount of time, but one gets better solutions and greater sales.

  1. The Usual Way —All Yellow Zone: This workflow immediately jumps from marketing research (lower left) straight across to solutions (lower right). It forces you to make key decisions without the benefit of a cohesive strategy. Expect greater confusion, less innovation, and weaker decisions.
  2. The Better Way —Plus Blue Zone: This workflow adds practical higher-level thinking. It builds on Yellow Zone research (lower left), elevates into Blue Zone thinking, then comes down into Yellow Zone solutions (lower right).

Blue Zone is where the magic happens. First you synthesize by combining Yellow Zone insights in a way that reveals patterns and new opportunities. Next you develop high quality strategy from that synthesis. Then you create a system (like the image above) that brings the strategy to life so your people understand and buy into it.

Now you are equipped to make effective implementation plans and decide on the right solutions.

Try it! Explicitly add synthesis, high-level strategy, and system design into your product/program development plans.

We’ve been helping clients do “Blue Zone” for 20+ years and know its challenges and rewards. Let us know if you want guidance.

Bottom line, whether the solutions are products, programs, or communications, they will all benefit greatly from Blue Zone magic.

Note: Our Zone Approach was inspired by an IDEO framework applying concrete and abstract thinking to product development. Thank you to Doug Solomon for sharing it with us.

Moshe Engelberg, Ph.D., M.P.H.
ResearchWorks, Inc.

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