Awkward Reality #17

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

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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.

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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

Awkward Reality #15

Awkward Reality #14

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

Awkward Reality #10

Once your new product is launched, the pricing insight window slams shut.

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Customers will help you set prices before—but not after—you launch your new product. They want you to develop innovative new products and services that deliver value to them… so they’ll give you insights to make this happen. These same insights allow you to establish optimal pricing. Do you know how to do this? It will be too late after you launch your product.

More in article, Pricing New vs. Existing Products (Originally published in B2B Organic Growth Newsletter)