How to Fast-Track Early Innovation: Implementing AI into Concept Development Process

Guest blog by: Rimantas Reimontas, Managing Director at Fastuna

At your company, how much effort does it take to collect consumer intelligence before you can finally get to new product development? If this is an arduous process, you should think about the latest tools that could take a lot of the inefficiency (and stress) away. In this case study we’ll show how AI moderation can pave the way for concept development and jump-start the innovation process.

As a company built by market researchers, Fastuna knows the hurdles of early innovation all too well, and designs solutions that swiftly tackle these issues. The latest addition to Fastuna’s orchestra of automated tools is an AI-powered moderator, able to conduct hundreds of async interviews a day – in any language, on any topic, among (nearly) any audience – then analyse and distil them into reports.

In a nutshell

Early Innovation ProcessFor the purpose of this study, Fastuna used an AI moderator to conduct 100 in-depth chat interviews among consumers in the UK and India to uncover the needs in the laundry category. Once the insights rolled in, they were validated with Fastuna’s Insight Screen test. The most promising ones were then used to create product and service ideas. Finally, these ideas were evaluated by consumers through Fastuna’s Idea Screen test.

Now, let’s dive into the details of each step we took.

Stage 1. AI moderation as a compromise between qual and quant

There is no argument that human moderators can do wonders to uncover unique insights. However, traditional in-depth interviews have their drawbacks. They are time, cost and labour consuming with a risk of human bias. In this regard, AI interviewers offer a much more budget-friendly solution that delivers insights, within days, not weeks or months.

As a user of Fastuna AI, all you need to do is define the target audience and write a concise guide. The AI moderator will then follow the guide to interview and probe the respondents, using respondent’s prefered language if necessary.

In the case of laundry category exploration, 6 questions were set and 100 qual interviews were completed in just 2 days. Each interview was processed by the AI moderator providing a summary in the form of a short story. A full transcript of each interview was also available:

Storytelling 1

Once all interviews were completed, it took one day for the AI moderator to synthesise and analyse the data, creating reports for each question. All conclusions were backed by actual quotes from the interviews and linked for easy access:


Stage 2. Insight Screen: weeding through the insights

People in the UK and India were largely satisfied with the selection of laundry products and performance. Also the reports from Stage 1 brought to light some glaring issues. These issues, usage occasions and pain points served as crucial information that was used by the Fastuna team to develop 12 insights which were then tested through a rapid consumer feedback survey. This test had two purposes: validate the AI-generated insights and provide a better understanding of which insights resonate with the target audience and to what extent.

Within a few hours, the insights were rated, ranked and displayed on a dashboard:Insight Screen

Insight Screen 2

It was clear that 5 out of 12 insights were perceived well. They got the green light to move on to the next stage and be transformed into ideas for laundry products and services. This positive feedback is proof that the AI moderator did not simply scratch the surface, but provided an abundance of high quality information that could be used for further development.

Stage 3. Idea Screen: identifying the most promising ideas

After a brainstorming session, 5 strongest insights turned into 6 ideas, ready to be evaluated by consumers. They were uploaded on to Fastuna’s Idea Screen test and launched into the field to be assessed through an automated survey. Once again, the feedback came within hours, providing room for quick idea adjustments. In this case, 1 of the ideas ranked very well, 1 was above average, 3 were seen as just ok and 1 was deemed a failure:

Idea Screen 1

Idea Screen 2

The next step would be to create concepts based on the best-performing ideas and validate them among the target audience. Fastuna has a tool for quick concept validation as well. With each step taking less than 24 hours to deliver results, there won’t be any bottlenecks in your NPD.

The synergy of AI and automation

When it comes to early innovation, the role of AI-enabled moderation can’t be underestimated. As of now, it is the quickest way to get a thorough understanding of consumer needs, and to unearth insights at scale.

Through the smart combination of AI and automated tools, you can go from limited, even non-existent, understanding of any subject to a list of solid ideas, backed by both numbers and qualitative input, in just under 1 week!

As a cherry on the top, the Fastuna team put together an NPD mental map for insights and marketing professionals (and it’s free to download), so you can ensure you’re not missing any important steps and making the most of market research. Get the mental map →

Fastuna are a sponsor of NewMR.