Innovation is a Form of Win-Win Negotiation

by Yann Cramer

Innovation is a Form of Win-Win NegotiationAlmost three decades ago, Ury and Fisher published their ground-breaking negotiation method, “Getting to Yes” that laid the foundation of win-win negotiation. Reflecting back on my early years in B2B Account Management and my current activities in Technology, I was struck by the parallels between win-win negotiation and innovation.

Negotiators look for the fundamental interests underneath the positions. For instance, during the Egypt-Israel Camp David talks in 1978 negotiators established that Israel’s fundamental interest was to have their security guaranteed; keeping the Sinai as a buffer zone was merely a position, a mean -amongst others, even if it was the only one initially on the table – to satisfy their need.

Likewise, innovators look for the fundamental customer needs that hide behind the clutter of habitual product features. When a University takes the innovative step of letting students download podcasts of lectures, it brushes aside hand-out, note-taking, and whatever marginal improvements could be added to these traditional techniques, and instead focuses on the fundamental student’s need for repetition.

Reverse innovation is a case in point. When Tata develops the Nano low-cost city car, it gets right to the heart of the customer’s need, which is not about dashboard widgets or turbo-charged engine, but about mobility. And in doing so, they negotiate a win-win business proposition.

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Yann Cramer is an innovation learner, practitioner, sharer, teacher. He’s lived in France, Belgium and the UK, he’s travelled six continents to create development opportunities with customers or suppliers, and run workshops on R&D and Marketing. He writes on www.innovToday.com and on twitter @innovToday.

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