In a recent Fast Company article and video on Open Forum, Dan & Chip Heath, co-authors of Made to Stick, look at how to explain new ideas – what your innovation is and what it does. If ideas aren’t readily accepted, they can die quickly, and there’s often a lot riding on getting it right – particularly for you as a manager or business owner. From a TOC or critical chain perspective, once your new product is launched, your constraint often becomes market acceptance. In some cases that means getting people to understand what your innovation is and how it can help them.

There are lots of things that can constrain how readily the market accepts your new product or innovation, but the Heaths cover a very important one: helping potential buyers quickly understand what the product is and what it does. Anchor and Twist are the two suggestions they offer—Anchor your product to something they already know. Twist to show how it’s different than everything else. Here’s an example with Palm’s new Pre phone:

First the anchor: The new Palm Pre phone is like Apple’s iPhone. Just another touchscreen smartphone…

Then the twist: But it has a slide out keyboard if you don’t want to use the touch screen and it can run multiple applications at the same time – something the iPhone can’t do (yet)

You might recognize anchor and twist as part of the unique selling proposition. The only thing I would add is the benefit. Why do they care? What’s in it for them (WIFT)?

Back to the Palm example—

WIFT: It can run multiple applications at the same time, which makes it easier to use. I can be writing an email, switch to my contacts to copy a phone number or address or jump over to Amazon to copy a link, and then hop back to the open email without having to restart the email application. A big deal when you use your smartphone for 50% of your emails.

So, to speed innovation acceptance and increase your new product sales, Anchor, Twist… and be clear on WIFT.3U8GDE5V797

Mike Dalton is the author of Simplifying Innovation: Doubling speed to market and new product profits – with your existing resources