AIM Archives - Tag: customer needs

Some leaders could boost innovation by staying home

249-Innovation

We see three areas where leaders can have a greater negative impact on innovation than positive: 1) organizational friction (travel bans, spending freezes, hiring delays, excessive re-orgs, etc.) that slow innovation to a crawl, 2) spreading too few resources over too many projects so that nothing moves briskly, and 3) short-changing the front-end of innovation, so that a clear picture of customer needs is lacking. Companies pay a heavy price for keeping such leaders in place.

More in article, Accelerate New Product Innovation

Seek to be right, not to be proven right

245-Seek-to-be-Right

“Proven right” breeds confirmation bias; “be right” inspires a search for truth. In new product development, “proven right” seeks to validate the supplier’s ideas; “be right” explores customers’ worlds seeking what others have missed. “Proven right” results in squandered R&D spending and missed opportunities; “be right” in delighted customers, premium pricing, and pleasant financial review meetings.

More in e-book, Leader’s Guide to B2B Organic Growth

Problem as given… vs. problem as understood

241-Problem-as-Understood

During the Vietnam war, the US was still using its cold war approach of “problem as given”… applying prescribed responses for a long list of scenarios. This was a disaster in the face of evolving threats. Now their protocol is “problem as understood”… developing solutions only after the problem is well defined. Is your company using “cold-war innovation,” or does it place a high priority on learning what customers truly want before developing products for them?

More in e-book, Leader’s Guide to B2B Organic Growth

Do you pursue speed… or velocity?

236-Velocity

The difference between speed and velocity is that only velocity has a direction associated with it. Many in business are focused on going as fast as they can… in any direction. Avoiding solid front-end-of-innovation work because you want to develop your new product faster is a prime example. Sure, you launched your product quickly… but no one bought it, because you failed to first understand customers’ needs.

More in e-book, Reinventing VOC for B2B

It’s not so difficult to move from Innovation Maturity Level 1 directly to Level 3.

193-Customer-Interview

In Level 1, you start with your ideas and launch products you think customers will want. In Level 2, you still start with your ideas, but “validate” them with customers. In Level 3, you start with customer needs, using divergent and convergent interviews. You uncover a full range of outcomes and only work on those customers care about.

More in white paper, Guessing at Customer Needs (page 7).

There are three types of growth. You can control one of them.

189-3-Types-of-Growth

The first is inherited growth from products launched long ago, which now “carry” your business. The second is market growth… the tide that lifts all boats. You can only impact the third—earned growth—by doing a better job than every competitor in understanding and meeting the needs of a market. This means it’s easy to be lulled into thinking your underlying growth is greater than it is.

More in white paper, Catch the Innovation Wave (page 14).

When it comes to B2B customer needs, uncertainty exists in suppliers’ minds, not customers’.

163 Uncertainty 1

Many ventures try to create new products or services under conditions of market uncertainty. This is a huge challenge for B2C. But uncertainty does not exist in the minds of most B2B customers… who have great knowledge, interest, objectivity and foresight. If you know how to access this, your supplier uncertainty will plummet.

More in white paper, Lean Startup for B2B (page 12).

So many ways to fail. Do you have a favorite?

155 Failure

In the front end of innovation, though, there are just two ways to fail. An error omission is failing to uncover an unarticulated customer need. An error of commission is choosing the wrong customer need to work on. Funny thing about errors of omission: No one knows you erred… until a competitor launches a blockbuster product.

More in white paper, Guessing at Customer Needs (page 5).

It’s hard to create differentiated products if you don’t behave differently.

108 Be Different

Companies that want differentiated products often behave the same as competitors. They can’t say, “Our R&D staff is 20% smarter than competitors’, so our products usually win.” But they could win by understanding customer needs better than competitors… letting them “aim” their R&D brainpower much better. Be different to differentiate.

More in article, Do You Really Interview Customers?