Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Don't Ask Your Customers To Invent New Products

Steve Jobs used to say that the iPod and the iPhone didn't emerge from focus groups. Steven Spielberg says a great movie is not created in a focus group. We need to remember that customers often tell us about incremental improvements they would like to see in existing products. They have a hard time imagining a brand new future. That does not mean, however, that we should not engage customers in our radical innovation efforts. We should engage them. We need to focus, though, on the pain they feel when using existing products. What frustrations and obstacles do they experience? If we understand those deeply, then we can begin to develop ways to alleviate that pain. Radical innovations can emerge from that deep understanding of customers' pain.

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