I’m pleased to be a contributor to two blogs, HBR.org and FrontEndofInnovation.blogspot.com.
As part of HBR.org’s new series on “Creating a Customer-Centered Organization,” I wrote about the need for companies to design new and better customer interactions.
Many companies now have senior officers in charge of customer experience. The executives’ role is to define the attributes of the customer experience in partnership with their operational colleagues, organize the customer-satisfaction-measurement process against those attributes, and encourage remedial action wherever warranted. What they hardly ever have, though, is an approach to evolve the design of the customer experience, let alone create a new experience.
To develop a new customer experience, companies need a real-time engagement process that encourages customers and employees to devise new interactions between them and facilitates the emergence of innovative customer experiences.
Yes, this co-creation takes time, but there is no alternative. Each customer designs her own experience in the unique context of each interaction she has with the company. So when companies rely solely on market research to design the customer experience, the result is a manager-biased lowest common denominator of customers’ expectations. More
On the Front End of Innovation Blog, linked to the FEI 2011 Conference, where I will be a keynote speaker on May 17, I listed seven words I’d like to see banned from the lingo of product development (with apologies to George Carlin).
The American stand-up comedian George Carlin had a routine entitled “Seven Dirty Words You Can’t Say on TV.”
Here are seven dirty words I’d like to ban from the product development language:
4. market research,
6. product specifications and
7. idea management.
1. Process: the appearance of rigor conveyed by a flow chart representing product development on a wall, disguising a cesspool of messy interactions as a neatly flowing river.
In the classic company-centric view of business, product development people follow a process. In reality, there is no such thing as a product development process. Product development is a series of interactions. To state the obvious, the difference between a process and an interaction is that the latter flows in (at least) two directions. One should therefore not design product development processes, but product development engagement platforms inviting multiple constituencies to participate in the design, with the product development people acting as facilitators of those interactions.