Get Intimate with the Customer

Innovation is the process of creating and delivering new customer value in the marketplace. In doing just this we must ask ourselves how to get as close and intimate with the customer as possible.

The plan of every company should be to create products or services that customers love. For love there needs to be a special connection. Products that fade within their first year in the marketplace do not die because of  failing technology, but because customers did not need those products.

Some researchers in product innovation say that 80-90 percent of products fail, although this number varies when looking at different industries. To increase the odds we can do one thing right. Get closer and intimate with the customer. I mean candlelit dinner and the breakfast.

First step is to  increase the customer focus and rise our head above the surface. Who is she what are her needs? Figure out the gender, age, nationality, hobbies and dreams. But that is not enough. Customer is a foreigner to many of the developers who are deep diving underwater and looking for the big fish. Hello there – your customers is a breathing and feeling human being. With humans the second step is to find a common language. With a common language the customer and the inventor can talk to another. But talk is cheap when you should be building a product. The third step that makes us raise above the water is to use common tools in addtion to sharing the same language. This enables understanding of the situation and customer need so much better. But we all know tools are not the answer. We need more to be able to create products that customers love.

The next, last and final step that will  make your innovation team walk on waters is to develop a common and shared value creation process together with the customer. If you can create value with and not just for the customer this increases the likelihood of finding the right kind of closeness and intimate relationship with your customer that he or she might, just might, take you to a journey where both your company fourishes and your customers love buying your products.

Based on a ton of product innovation studies this customer focused value creation model is working.