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
27 June 2015
Designing for behavior as the critical path for patient engagement
Forget about features, design behaviors. Tying strategic behavior design to engagement outcomes will lead to more pratical and digitally relevant solutions, writes behavioral scientist Steph Habif in a conversation piece on the website of Prescribe …
22 June 2015
[Book] Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics
Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics by Richard H. Thaler W. W. Norton & Company May 2015, 432 pages Richard H. Thaler has spent his career studying the radical notion that the central agents in the economy are humans—predictable, …
19 June 2015
The opportunities for wearables in the healthcare space
Daniel Gomez Seidel and Masuma Henry of Artefact have posted a nice write-up on recent developments and opportunities for wearables in the healthcare space. The post contains various interesting cases and points at some of …
19 June 2015
Nesta report and case studies on people-centred smart cities
For smart cities to reach their full potential, they need to focus on the citizens living in them, not just technology, write researchers Tom Saunders and Peter Baeck of Nesta, the UK innovation charity Traditionally, smart …
13 June 2015
[Book] Designing Connected Products
Designing Connected Products: UX for the Consumer Internet of Things By Claire Rowland, Elizabeth Goodman, Martin Charlier, Ann Light, Alfred Lui O'Reilly Media, May 2015 726 pages [Amazon link] Abstract Networked thermostats, fitness monitors, and door locks show that the Internet …
13 June 2015
Examining the proliferation of magical narratives in technology
There has been a lot of talk about magic lately in critical, cultural and technological spaces; what it does, who it is for, and who are the ones to control or enact it. As a …
9 June 2015
Alice Rawsthorn on the pros and cons of new digital interface design
Alice Rawsthorn asks why the aesthetics of something so pervasive [as digital user interfaces], the design of which is deeply sophisticated in other respects, are often underwhelming. Developing a definitive design aesthetic as Braun once did …
6 June 2015
Europe’s White Working Class Communities: A Report on Six EU Cities
Europe’s White Working Class Communities, a research series published by the Open Society Foundations, documents the experiences of “white” communities in six cities across Europe. Each report focuses on a specific district or neighborhood within a …

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.

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 […]

16 March 2015
Better Health and Wellbeing: Giving the elderly in Singapore sparkling golden years

Invitation: sharing session, Singapore, 30 March 2015   What are the hopes and fears of the elderly in Singapore? How can designers offer solutions that support the elderly in managing their health and wellness? What can healthcare professionals do to help them keep active? What role can technology play in the elderly’s daily lives? Design consultants […]

1 January 2015
Happy Playful New Year
21 December 2014
Experientia’s Twitter feed live

Experientia has now its own Twitter feed. Four months of Putting People First posts and other links have already been uploaded. If you followed Experientia on Twitter through the feed of its CEO, Mark Vanderbeeken, make sure to now also follow the company (but don’t unfollow Mark, who will keep on tweeting away). And while […]

19 December 2014
Putting People First blog redesigned

Experientia’s Putting People First blog has been redesigned. It is now entirely responsive, allows for easier browsing, searching, and filtering, and features larger images on the posts. The entire history of posts remains accessible as before. We are still tweaking things and welcome any feedback.

27 November 2014
Why the world needs anthropologists – an update

Why the world needs anthropologists – Coming out of the ivory tower Location: Padua, Italy, Centro Culturale Altinate/San Gaetano Date and time: Friday, 5 December 2014, 13:00 – 18:00 Padua, Italy, 5 December 2014 – The second edition of the international symposium of applied anthropologists attempts to erase the boundary between ‘pure’ and ‘applied’ anthropology, […]

See all articles