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).
Those wrong places are usually inside your company. In a study examining best idea sources, 8 voice-of-customer methods and 10 other methods were examined. In terms of effectiveness, the VOC methods took 8 of the 9 top spots. At the very top? Customer visit teams and customer observation. Most companies need to “get out” more.
More in article, Where New Product Ideas Begin (Originally published in B2B Organic Growth).