Great Minds Do NOT Think Alike

Great Minds Do NOT Think Alike

Cross-functional teams are essential to product and service innovation.  Any time there are people involved, the “Fuzzy Front End” will remain fuzzy.  One of our clients calls this place, “a simmering pot of ideas, opportunities, opinions, politics, and fear.” In the front-end of innovation (FEI), significant dollars are usually spent on understanding customer needs and “filling the funnel” with product concepts.  The client team is...

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The Customer Is Not Always Right

The Customer Is Not Always Right

Use Them Selectively in B2B Concept Creation Creating breakthrough product and service ideas in the business-to-business (B2B) domain poses some unique challenges. In many cases, the development of new ideas requires technical expertise that customers (or end-users) may lack. We rely heavily on customers to tell us their needs and points of pain, and they generally do a great job of this. During that process...

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Avoid Asking Why

Avoid Asking Why

In many respects, we are in the business of understanding why customers do the things they do. Asking someone a “why” question suggests that you want them to describe a behavior or the rationale behind a behavior. Customers are generally poor at self-reflection; stated behavior (and rationale) is often at odds with reality. I’m still baffled at the number of times qualitative research is used to understand behaviors. It’s not designed for...

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Shiny Needles in a Haystack

Shiny Needles in a Haystack

Getting the Right B2B Participants for Concept Development When involving B2B end-users for new product development research, the quality of the participant far outweighs the quantity. In concept development, focus groups are a common method to get feedback.  Somewhere along the way, someone in our industry issued a commandment that stated “thou must always recruit 10 to seat 6-8” for your next session. That demigod obviously came from consumer packaged goods...

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Scrapbooking with Farmers

Scrapbooking with Farmers

Engaging B2B Study Participants I’ll be the first to admit that business-to-business research is hard. Finding and scheduling study participants is always a challenge. Engaging them is even tougher. Building a dialogue around brand perceptions and unmet needs is always challenging, but it is particularly acute in professional markets. Business-to-business participants are prone to only focus on product features. Good research requires a deeper dive. We recently completed...

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