Eager to grow through innovation, companies are looking for the customers to guide them towards unmet needs. But these companies often end up with vague, useless – or even misleading – customer input. Why? The authors studied 10,000 customer need statements from many industries and companies have discovered that not even a definition of what a customer’s need or user input should establish standardized with respect to the structure and format. Too often companies ask customers to respond to potential … Read more »

Eager to grow through innovation, companies are looking for the customers to guide them towards unmet needs. But these companies often end up with vague, useless – or even misleading – customer input. Why? The authors studied 10,000 customer need statements from many industries and companies have discovered that not even a definition of what a customer’s need or user input should establish standardized with respect to the structure and format. Too often companies ask customers to respond to possible solutions, rather than zeroing in on their expertise: use the “job” they need to achieve with the product or service, and the steps in which this experience could improve. By deconstructing the job, companies can identify opportunities that are universal and long-standing. In addition, the authors say, companies can collect data that fits their innovation strategy. What the authors propose is a disciplined process for collecting customer requirements, which are then addressed by innovative ideas. They outline the six characteristics that a meaningful statement Customer must own, including reading strictly from the perspective of a user – and not of the factors the company believes should be the basis for customer evaluation. The most helpful statements also prompt a clear course of action, specifying the dimensions of the “job” improvement need, like the slow or inconsistent quality. The authors set out six rules for eliciting feedback that will yield the correct raw data on customer crafted statements that resonate across enterprise functions, so that departments can unite around a single growth strategy. Finally, they define the two major categories of customer requirements – job instructions and desired result statements – and link, which type is best for different innovation strategies. For CEOs, the author is blunt message: Successful innovation is about the process, not only the result of brainstorming good ideas
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from
Anthony W. Ulwick,
Lance A. Bettencourt
Source: MIT Sloan Management Review
9 sides.
Release Date: 1 April 2008. Prod #: SMR280-PDF-ENG
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