Background Note | HBS Case Collection | May 2012

Innovation Magic

by Stefan Thomke and Jason Randal


Why do certain product and service experiences seem like magic, making them all but destined for success, while other items languish on store shelves? For a better understanding of that, perhaps there's no better place to turn to than the world of magic. Consider that some professional magicians are constantly under pressure to come up with new "effects" that will wow the audience and ultimately result in a transformational customer experience. As such, these magicians can't just be innovative on a whim; they must have a systematic way of doing so on a regular basis. The note provides some practical insights into a process of creation that is common to both the "tricks" that awe a spellbound audience and what companies need to do to give customers unforgettable product and service experiences.

Keywords: innovation; creativity; product differentiation; experimentation; Personal strategy & style; Innovation and Invention; Creativity; Service Operations; Product; Customer Satisfaction;


Thomke, Stefan, and Jason Randal. "Innovation Magic." Harvard Business School Background Note 612-099, May 2012.