26 October 2006

Knowledge@Wharton on getting to the heart of the customer

Be the first to share

Getting to the heart of the customer
Knowledge@Wharton, the always excellent online magazine of the Wharton School has published a special report on ‘Smart Growth’ (pdf version) with the subtitle: ‘Innovating to Meet the Needs of the Market without Feeding the Beast of Complexity’.

The report, which is written in collaboration with George Group Consulting, addresses how managers can avoid the creeping impact of complexity and clutter on operational processes and costs.

Interestingly, the first chapter of the three-part report discusses “ambidextrous” thinking where companies “identify the unmet and unarticulated needs of the customer and align their innovation processes to those insights“. The long chapter also discusses the importance of rapid and iterative prototyping during development.

“Companies must discover what innovations customers are willing to pay a premium for, identify their own competitive strengths and free up innovation capacity by removing or managing complexity within the organization’s products, services and operations. The potential reward is a better bottom line and increased visibility with customers, as companies invest in understanding customers’ needs while shedding the excess clutter that can bring down their rivals.”

“According to the book Fast Innovation: Achieving Superior Differentiation, Speed to Market, and Increased Profitability, by George Group’s Michael L. George, James Works and Kimberly Watson-Hemphill (McGraw-Hill, 2005), sources for analyzing customers’ needs might include ethnographic studies; face-to-face interviews with end-users and customers; diaries and intercepts; and expert advice and trend analysis on technology and markets. These help companies measure, explore and make tradeoffs among customer requirements, the authors write. Where differentiation in offerings is calibrated carefully to customer needs and fast-tracked to market, there is larger-than-usual opportunity to realize premium prices before commoditization.”

“What the authors found was that many companies spend too long in development time, and too little time and money in the upfront stage, leading to an inadequate understanding of customer needs. Companies are then compelled to commit more investments post-launch as they begin to understand customer responses and tweak their offerings.”

In an accompanying podcast (with transcript), Mike McCallister, CEO of Humana, discusses balancing innovation and complexity in the health care industry. Humana advocates a consumer-centered model — one in which product innovation is driven by consumer needs.

“Placing the consumer at the center is not easy,” McCallister admits, “because with innovation comes the potential for additional product and service complexity; the trick is delivering complexity only where consumers are willing to pay for it.”

Be the first to share
2 February 2016
The secret UX issues that will make (or break) self-driving cars
In an unassuming research lab, Volkswagen is solving problems that Tesla and Google haven't come close to cracking. Cliff Kuang reports for Fast Company. In his article he features the work of Brian Lathrop, who runs …
2 February 2016
Do patients really want to be empowered?
Katherine Benjamin, digital services manager at NHS England, asks some clever questions in this Medium piece: "Digital health services and wearable technologies are meant to empower users to change behaviours and become better informed, more engaged …
30 January 2016
Is design thinking the next big thing for U.S. power?
The U.S. Army is already using design thinking to inform its battle doctrine, and now voices go up to apply it to US foreign policy as well. Design Thinking Comes to the U.S. Army by Roger Martin The …
30 January 2016
Design thinking for museums
The Design Thinking for Museums site is the outcome of a 2012 partnership between the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) and Stanford’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (d.school). It is conceived as a …
30 January 2016
[Book] Asian Perspectives on Digital Culture
Asian Perspectives on Digital Culture: Emerging Phenomena, Enduring Concepts Edited by Sun Sun Lim, Cheryll Soriano Routledge, 2016 214 pages Abstract In Asia, amidst its varied levels of economic development and diverse cultural traditions and political regimes, the Internet and …
29 January 2016
[Report] Consumers more frustrated by smart home apps than devices
New report by Argus Insights suggests disappointing apps break user experience, may cause decline in consumer delight over time. The Smart Home ecosystem comprises both hardware devices and software apps and together they are supposed to …
29 January 2016
Replacing Personas with Characters
Because personas focus on creating a story made up of a customer’s attributes, instead of a story that explains a purchase, personas leave the brain in a unsatisfied state, argues Alan Klement. To fix this, …
29 January 2016
Solving health care problems through design methodology
Stephen Klasko (an MD with an MBA, CEO of Jefferson Health System and Thomas Jefferson University) and Bon Ku (MD, a professor of emergency medicine at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital) joined the Knowledge@Wharton show …

We are an international experience design consultancy helping companies and organisations to innovate their products, services and processes by putting people and their experiences first.

18 January 2016
Experientia website completely reshaped

Experientia is pleased to announce that we’ve started 2016 with a brand new website. Experientia’s now officially 10 years old, and we decided that the best way to celebrate is by building a new website that showcases our growth – with new projects, new people in the staff, and two new locations in Lausanne and […]

1 January 2016
For when things get personal…
13 October 2015
Experientia report: Design for ageing gracefully

Design for Ageing Gracefully Rethinking Health and Wellness for the Elderly: Public Services Asian Insights & Design Innovation, DesignSingapore Council October 2015

29 September 2015
[Experientia book] Ethnography on elderly health and wellness

As we age, we increasingly depend on public services and the community for support. Well-designed public services can greatly affect the lives of the elderly and their experiences of healthcare. Experientia collaborated with DesignSingapore Council on understanding how the elderly interact with public services and how we can look towards improving their lives with design. […]

2 July 2015
Getting citizens involved in protecting fragile energy environments

A new project funded under the FP7 European Commission framework is getting citizens involved in testing new tools for reducing energy consumption during peak loads, in the hope that its pilot program will set the new state of the art for protecting locations with fragile electricity supplies. One of France’s most fragile regions The Provence-Alpes-Côte […]

5 May 2015
Experientia designer Dohun YuLuck Jang 유록 in Design 4 Disaster

Design 4 Disaster features an engaging illustrated safety manual for ship passengers, a personal project by Experientia designer Dohun YuLuck Jang 유록. After the Korean ferry accident last year, Yuluck (who is Korean) wanted to find a way to make safety manuals more interesting to read. He spent one year designing an interactive safety guide […]

See all articles