Wednesday, 17 June 2015

One of Innovation’s ‘Magic Gifts!’

I recently pondered the whys and wherefores of customer expectations analysis with a fellow research associate. It went along the lines, ‘Listening to customers is a good thing?’ That is, organisations that listen and build-in their clients wishes and demands in their offerings, result in better solutions!

My colleague’s conclusion was, ‘Yes; but not on its own!’

‘Why?’ I asked.

Because that is just the tip of this monumentally important issue! ‘Listening’ is reactive, and therefore too often lagging and off centre. It is also retrospective, relying on people’s actual experiences.

Further; ‘asking’ people what they want – even with quite sophisticated methods – is hit and miss; as different people have different moods at different times; have short-term-detail memories; have a stupendously broad range of personalities, and even have quite weird subjective experiences with the gizmo or venture they have parted hard earned cash for.

Then it occurred to me, ‘So, you don’t merely listen to customers (it is important), but DESIGN THEM A GIFT!’.

‘What?’ My friend frowned.

‘Well, have you ever given a GIFT to a friend you know extremely well? And immediately their eyes open wide, go bright with joy, and the atmosphere of the room goes warm and glowing?’ ‘How did you know,’ they screech, ‘how did you know?’

And that is the job of the innovator. To know their customer so intuitively well, that when they launch a new brainchild, the customer-base reacts in a similar – metaphorical – way. They love it, and the market goes high.

So, to do that, the innovator has to build acute customer empathy; learn their habits and patterns; discover their values and likes in their world, even their dislikes! And by thinking and behaving in this way, you will find that building empathy happens very quickly. And when that happens, your chances of getting a winner sky rockets… So design and build your customers a MAGIC GIFT!

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