Some companies use the front end of innovation to validate hypotheses or make financial projections. Wrong approach. The front end is a time for learning what you didn’t know, not analysis. Successful teams usually pursue a market without a solution but with an open mind. Converge too soon, and you’ll often miss the best fodder for innovation.
More in e-book, Reinventing VOC for B2B
More specifically, it’s learning what you didn’t know about the customer’s world in your target market. If you think it’s about “ideating” to come up with cool supplier ideas—which you’ll “validate” with customers—you’ve got it all wrong. Start with customers and their needs… not with you and your notions. Focus on your solutions after you understand what those who might buy them want.
Learn more about B2B innovation at theaiminstitute.com
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).
Confirmation bias is the “tendency for people to favor information that confirms their preconceptions or hypotheses, regardless of whether the information is true.” It’s what happens when you take your lovely new-product hypotheses to customers. This systematically distorts data on customer needs… and that can’t be good for innovation, right?
More in article, Give your Hypothesis the “Silent Treatment” (Originally published in B2B Organic Growth).
Many suppliers unwittingly detach from customers with a host of risky behaviors: 1) Asking customers to fill in boring questionnaires, 2) using interviews to “validate” their preconceived solutions, 3) failing to probe with insightful questions, and 4) neglecting to follow-up interviews with rich, ongoing engagement. Is it time to learn customer-engagement skills?
More in article, 5 Growth Risks You Can Stop Taking (Originally published in B2B Organic Growth Newsletter).