What Customers Want

Using Outcome-Driven Innovation to Create Breakthrough Products and Services

Anthony W. Ulwick

Publisher: McGraw-Hill, 2005, 202 pages

ISBN: 978-0-07-140867-7

Keywords: Business Development

Last modified: April 30, 2019, 8:33 p.m.

For years, companies have accepted the underlying principles that define the customer-driven paradigm — that is, using customer "requirements" to guide growth and innovation. But twenty years into this movement, failure rates are still high and breakthrough innovations are still rare.

In a book that challenges everything you have learned about being customer driven, innovation leader Anthony Ulwick reveals the secret weapon behind some of the most successful companies of recent years. Known as "outcome-driven" innovation, this revolutionary approach to new product and service creation transforms innovation from a nebulous art into a rigorous science from which randomness and uncertainty are eliminated.

With information based on more than 200 studies spanning more than seventy companies and twenty-five industries, Ulwick contends that when it comes to innovation, the traditional methods companies use to communicate with customers are the root cause of chronic waste and missed opportunity. In What Customers Want, Ulwick demonstrates that all popular qualitative research methods yield well-intentioned but unsuitable and woefully misleading information that serves to derail the innovation process. Rather than accepting customer inputs such as "needs", "benefits", "specifications", and "solutions", Ulwick argues that researchers should silence the literal "voice of the customer" and focus on the jobs customers need to get doen and aggressively uncover the measurable outcomes customers hope to achieve.

With the same insight, simplicity, and incommon sense that propelled The Innovator's Solution to worldwide acclaim, this paradigm-changing book details en eight-step approach that uses outcome-driven thinking to dramatically improve every aspect of tyhe innovation process — from segmenting martkets and identifying opportunities to creating, evaluating, and positioning breakthrough concepts. Using case studies from Microsoft, Johnson & Johnson, AIG, Pfizer, and other leading companies, What Customers Want shows companies how to:

  • Obtain unique customer inputs that make predictable innovation possible
  • Recognize opportunities for disruption, new market creation, and core market growth — well before competitors do
  • Identify the ideas, technologies, and acquisitions that have the greatest potential for creating customer value
  • Systematically define breakthrough products and services concepts

Innovation is fundamental to success and business growth. Offering a proven alternative to failed customer-driven thinking, this landmark books arms you with the tools to unleash innovation, lower costs, and reduce failure rates — and create the prodicts and services customers really want.

  • Introduction : Moving Beyond the Customer-Driven Paradigm
  1. Formulating the Innovation Strategy: Who Is the Target of Value Creation and How Should It Be Achieved?
    • What Types of Innovation Are Possible?
    • What Growth Options Should Be Considered?
    • Where in the Value Chain Should We Focus to Maximize Value Creation?
    • How Do We Handle Multiple Constituents with Potentially Conflicting Outcomes?
  2. Capturing Customer Inputs: Silence the "voice of the Customer"— Let's Talk Jobs, Outcomes, and Constraints
    • Why Should Companies Gather Customer Requirements?
    • What Three Issues Plague the Requirements-Gathering Process?
    • What Types of Data Do Companies Commonly Collect from Customers?
    • What Customer Inputs Are Needed to Master the Innovation Process?
    • What Methods Should Companies Use to Obtain the Necessary Information?
    • Hwo Do You Know Which of the Three Types of Inputs You Should Capture?
  3. Identifying Opportunities: Discovering Where the Market Is Underserved and Overserved
    • What Is an Opportunity?
    • What Three Common Mistakes Are Made in Prioritizing Opportunities?
    • How Should Companies Prioritize Opportunities?
    • How Do You Identify Underserved and Overserved Markets?
    • How Does Value Migrate Over Time?
    • What Implications Does the Outcome-Driven Paradigm Have for Competitive Analysis?
  4. Segmenting the Market: Using Outcome-Driven Segmentation to Discover Segments of Opportunity
    • What Is the Purpose of Segmentation?
    • Hos Has the Practice of Segmentation Evolved?
    • Why Are Traditional Segmentation Methods Ineffective for Purposes of Innovation?
    • What Is Different About Outcome-Based Segmentation?
    • How Is Outcome-Based Segmentation Performed?
    • How Does Outcome-Based Segmentation Address Development and Marketing Challenges?
    • How Is Job-Based Segmentation Different, and When Should it Be Used?
  5. Targeting Opportunities for Growth: Deciding Where to Focus the Value Creation Effort
    • What Is Different About Targeting for Innovation?
    • What Types of Broad-Market Opportunities Are Likely to Be Attractive?
    • What Segment-Specific Targeting Strategies Are Effective?
    • How Does a Targeting Strategy Result in a Unique and Valued Competitive Position?
    • Why Do Companies Fail to Target Key Opportunities?
  6. Positioning Current Products: Connecting Opportunities with Valued Product Features
    • Why Does Messaging Often Fail to Tout a Product's True Value?
    • What Are the Prerequisities for an Effective Messaging Strategy?
    • What Messaging Will Be Most Effective?
    • Should a Company Message Along an Emotional or Functional Dimension?
    • How Does the Sales Force Have Immediate Impact on Revenue Generation?
    • What Is the Advantage of an Outcome-based Brand?
  7. Prioritizing Projects in the Development Pipeline: Separating the Winners from the Losers
    • What Issues Do Comapnies face When Prioritizing Projects?
    • What Method Is Used to Identify the Winners and Losers?
    • Which Efforts Should Get Top Priority?
    • What Other Factors Affect Project Prioritization?
  8. Devising Breakthrough Concepts: Using Focused Brainstorming and the Customer Scorecard to Create Customer Value
    • Why Does Traditional Brainstorming Often Fail to Produce Breakthrough Ideas?
    • How Are Breakthrough Concepts Successfully Generated?
    • What Are the Mechanics Behind Focused Brainstorming?
    • Why Do Traditional Concept-Evaluation Methods Fail?
    • How Is the Customer Scorecard Used to Evaluate Product and Service Concepts?
    • How Are These Methods Applied in Practice?
    • What Is the Role of R&D in the Innovation Process?
  • Epilogue : Tactical Tips for Managers