Unmet Needs Jam

“Connect on your similarities and benefit from your differences.”
Valdis Krebs
Tool Step

Role of this tool

To steer the direction of innovation based on sound insight. Used successfully, an Unmet Needs Jam highlights real and specific user needs that are currently not being met. It is such clearly defined unmet needs that drive relevant and distinctive innovations.

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How do we use it?

A Jam is a workshop with three unique ingredients:

  • 1. A wide mixture of attendees from different backgrounds, different personalities and different organisations
  • 2. Extreme collaboration in every activity from the warm up to the final presentation
  • 3. Alternating thinking styles – creative and analytical

We should set aside time to create a record of the Jam both during the day and afterwards, using as much visual material as possible.

1. What are the Jam’s objectives?

Just because Jams are fun doesn’t mean they are without structure. First we agree with our fellow jammers what we are going to achieve and why. How many unmet needs are we expecting? For which target groups? What are the next steps after the Jam (e.g. market research, an ideas brainstorm or an open innovation challenge?)

2. Who is going to Jam with us?

Productive Jams are all about the clash of cultures and the collision of perspectives. From our own organisation we might wish to include people from marketing, market research, design, R&D and their agencies or key suppliers. Also we could include our collaboration partners if we have them. It’s a good idea to invite (and pay for) some neutral domain experts, whether practitioners or academics.

3. What’s our agenda?

A typical Unmet Needs Jam agenda

0900: Welcome, sharing and agreeing objectives
0930: Collaboration mindset – warm up exercises (See Co-creation Techniques)
1000: Insight sharing and analysis
1100: Break
1130: Develop and role-play personas (see Personas)
1230: A well-earned lunch
1330: Unmet needs brainstorm
1430: Unmet needs classification and voting
1530: Develop unmet needs cards (see Unmet Need)
1700: Presentation of unmet needs and dot voting
1730: Close

4. What insights will we review?

Preparation is crucial for this part of the Unmet Needs Jam. You can use existing market research or even better prepare fresh insights using Social Listening or Insight Crowd.

5. How many unmet needs did we uncover?

The key outputs for this Jam are clear and actionable unmet needs. We use the Unmet Need tool to brief breakout groups to brainstorm, to create, imagine and co-author needs that are inspiring. Each group presents its unmet need cards to the room, voting for the most original and relevant using sticky dots applied to the cards. Record the top voted needs on the form.


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Worked Example

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