Awkward Reality #288

Great B2B innovation requires 2 forms of evidence.

288-Evidence

Exhibit A is an attractive market and Exhibit B is a documented need within this market. Most companies do OK with Exhibit A… identifying a market segment that is winnable and worth winning. But most are terrible at Exhibit B. This is being sure of which customer outcomes (desired end-results) companies will be rewarded for satisfying with a new product. Increasingly, companies are using Market Satisfaction Gaps to do this. (See 12 case stories)

More in white paper, Market Satisfaction Gaps

Awkward Reality #287

Have you separated your earned growth from your unearned growth?

287-Earned-Growth

There are two types of unearned growth: 1) Inherited Growth comes from great products your employees created long ago, and 2) Market Growth is driven by your customers’ growth. You influence neither today. Earned Growth occurs when you surpass competitors in meeting customer needs. Normal accounting doesn’t separate earned from unearned, but you should. You may be living on borrowed time, when you should be the master of your own destiny.

More in article, B2B Organic Growth: Moving to earned growth

Awkward Reality #286

Consider rat tails and the danger of ignoring second-order effects.

286-Rat-Tails

In the early 1900’s the French colonial government tried to decrease the Hanoi rat population by rewarding bounties on each rat tail turned in. The second-order effects were 1) lots of tail-less rats roaming the streets, and 2) rat-breeding farms for tail harvesting. When your business leaders slash R&D spending, invoke travel bans, cut marketing staff, and delay hiring… what second-order effects will come as a result? Perhaps slower future growth? Rats.

More in article, Stop Stifling B2B Organic Growth with 2nd Order Effects

It’s Time for New Innovation Metrics

Why-you-need-new-innovation-metrics

You’ve heard, “measure twice, cut once,” right? When it comes to market-facing innovation, most companies only measure after they’ve cut. They use the vitality index—a fine innovation metric developed by 3M in 1988 that’s simple to understand: percentage of gross revenue generated from products launched in the past three (or five) years. But if this ... Read More

Awkward Reality #285

Here’s how to weaponize customer insight for competitive advantage.

285-Weaponized-Aircraft

Here is our #1 recommendation for innovation success: Don’t start development stage work without quantitative evidence of customer needs. You can use Preference interviews followed by Market Satisfaction Gaps… or some other unfiltered, unbiased evidence. Two tips: 1) Don’t do this for very small projects, just those requiring 1+ person-year of development. 2) Don’t do this for technology development. Just product development, where you’ve targeted a specific market segment.

More in article, Market Satisfaction Gaps… your key to B2B organic growth

Awkward Reality #284

Consider 3 “landmine principles” in your high-stakes projects.

284-Landmines

A landmine is something that could blow up your high-stakes project. Consider 3 points: 1) Landmines pose a greater threat in unfamiliar terrain, so be extra careful outside your core. 2) We don’t like to think about unhappy thoughts–like landmines–so be diligent in investigating assumptions that could become landmines. 3) No one steps on a landmine they can see. So the team’s first job is to make all assumptions visible… and then determine which might be a landmine.

To see how this is done, view the video at Project De-risking with Minesweeper

Awkward Reality #283

Why you shouldn’t hope for great financial results this quarter.

283-Hope-for-Results

A large, unexpected revenue upturn this quarter feels good, right? But the satisfaction is fleeting. What you need is growth that is unrelenting, earned and reliable. If your growth is serendipitous—not the result of superior growth capabilities—you’re just setting yourself up for problems in 12 months. That’s when you’ll be held accountable for year-over-year results. Then you’ll be expected to repeat last year’s revenue windfall and then some.

More in article, B2B Organic Growth: Moving to earned growth

Chasing the Fast Follower Myth

Bigfoot is as real as the fast follower

Bigfoot and the fast follower strategy have much in common. Namely, they’re both myths. Bigfoot, of course, is that Chewbacca-like beast that supposedly has roamed North America for thousands of years. And he (or she?) surely must be real because of all the television shows dedicated to his discovery. For example, there’s Expedition Bigfoot, Finding ... Read More

Awkward Reality #282

Here’s why you need B2B quantitative customer interviews.

282-Customer-Ratings

In B2B-optimize quantitative interviews you ask customers to rate importance and current satisfaction for key customer outcomes. Without these convergent interviews, you’re essentially “guessing” what customers want. You simply cannot trust qualitative insight alone, as we all tend to “hear what we want to hear.” This is called confirmation bias… and the only antidote is to ask customers to think in a structured manner, giving you quantitative data in an unfiltered fashion.

More in Preference Interview Research Report

Awkward Reality #281

You fail twice when you skip B2B qualitative customer interviews.

281-Fail-Twice

Without well-executed, qualitative, divergent interviews, you can expect errors of omission… failing to uncover unarticulated customer needs. Are teams criticized for these errors? No, because no one realizes something was omitted at the time of the error. A second problem is the failure to engage customers. You miss the chance to impress them as a supplier that wants to better understand and meet their needs.

More in article, The Front End of Innovation: How much is “too much”?