Awkward Reality #17

Do you use Voice of Customer (VOC)… or Voice of Ourselves (VOO)?

17-Voice-of-Ourselves-1

Companies like to talk about the voice-of-the-customer, but most just listen to themselves as they create “conference room” products. The team gathers internally to decide for the customer what they’ll want in a new product. This team will always lose to the team that immerses itself in the customer experience, and designs a product to improve that experience.

More in article, Why Advanced VOC Matters (Originally published in B2B Organic Growth Newsletter)

Awkward Reality #16

Imagine if doctors diagnosed patients the way many companies interview customers.

16-Diagnostics

Imagine your doctor entered the exam room, saying, “I’ll ask some routine questions to validate my hunch… so I can start treatment.” Would he be your doctor for long? Wouldn’t you rather have a doctor who listens first and asks intelligent questions? Your customers feel the same way, so leave your hypothesis in the waiting room and start engaging them.

More in executive briefing, Seven Mistakes that Stunt Organic Growth

Why Advanced Voice of Customer Matters

17 Voice of Ourselves

Far too many B2B customers are still using “Voice of Ourselves” for product development. Diagnose your VOO vs. VOC behavior in 10 areas: 1) interview scope, 2) interview objective, 3) types of questions, 4) note-taking, 5) interview skills, 6) observation skills, 7) companies interviewed, 8) deliverables, 9) engagement timeframe, and 10) interviewing staff. ... Read More

9 Best Practices for Recruiting Customers

9 Best Practices for Recruiting Customers

Consider these best practices for recruiting customers for interviews: 1) Value representativeness over sample size. 2) Include respondents along the value chain. 3) Recruit some respondents with internal resources. 4) Use outside recruiting if you get stuck. 5) Get the sales team on board. 6) Use a script for recruiting calls. 7) Email an agenda. 8) Send respondent to www.haveyoubeendiscovered.com. 9) Start with a big list. ... Read More

Awkward Reality #15

Awkward Reality #14

Your innovation needs two types of metrics: “New Product Success” and “Learning Success.”

14-Success-Metrics

New Product Success is a metric for current projects. Learning Success—which measures skill-building progress—is a metric for future projects. Most companies just consider New Product Success. Worse, they only look at ultimate metrics, e.g. sales. If they also used intermediate metrics, they’d have enough time to apply what they learned from these metrics.

More in article, 3 Problems with Innovation Metrics(Originally published in B2B Organic Growth Newsletter)

Awkward Reality #13

When analytical and discovery thinking compete in NPD processes, expect the former to dominate.

13-Analysis

Analysis looks for what has been done wrong; discovery for what could be done right. Failing to discover opportunities is a costly error. Paradoxically, it is most often forgiven. In fact, if your team fails to develop a blockbuster because it missed a critical customer need, no one will even notice. At least not until a competitor does a better job.

More in executive briefing, Should Your Stage-Gate® Get a No-Go?

Awkward Reality #12

Fixate on the only source of unlimited potential, not sources of diminishing return.

12-Diminishing-Returns

Unlike innovation, quality and productivity apply to current operations and yield diminishing returns. What do you do after you reach zero defects… or your factory is being run by the proverbial “man and a dog”? (The man feeds the dog; the dog bites the man if he touches the controls.) Customer-facing innovation is different. There is no limit. Just look at Apple Computer.

More in white paper, Catch the Innovation Wave (page 2)

Awkward Reality #11

Don’t expect your stage-and-gate process to do what it was never designed to do.

11-Square-Peg

It was designed to manage the interface between project teams and your company… for portfolio analysis, resource planning, risk reduction, tracking, etc. Fine, but you also need to improve the interface between teams and customers. Competitive advantage in customer-facing innovation requires skills and tools your competitors lack.

Learn more about B2B innovation at www.theaiminstitute.com

Why will future companies laugh at us?

Why will future companies laugh at us

Today's innovation methods will look outdated in the future, with these 6 “awkward realities”: 1) We test market needs by launching products at customers. 2) We don’t understand what organic growth requires of us. 3) We misunderstand the proper role of stage-and-gate processes. 4) We interview customers to “validate” our hypothesis. 5) We fail to fully engage customers in our innovation. 6) We are easily distracted from customer-facing innovation. ... Read More