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Monday, April 22, 2013

Creating Products for Tomorrow's Consumers

When developing new products, the debate is between those folks who believe that asking prospects what they want/need is the path to success and those folks who believe that people don't know if they want or need a new product until they see it and understand it.
If you are interested in consumer adoption of products and services, status, buying behaviors, and technologies, you will like the antecdotes in "Hidden in Plain Sight: How to Create Extraordinary Products for Tomorrow's Customers" by Jan Chipchase with Simon Steinhardt. In this book you will find observations such as:

Keep “mental transactional costs” down. “If you’re willing to spend a penny every time you feel like looking at Photoshopped images of cats in outerspace, you probably don’t want to have to think about that penny every time,” write Chipchase and Steinhardt. page 48

Look at local  porn when developing products abroad. “Porn consumers are constantly looking for new, less obvious, and less anti-social ways to consume it.  A porn retailer is a good benchmark of the current local standards for content consumption,” write Chipchase and Steinhardt. page 88

Research all aspects of your customers’ lives. “Perhaps you’re trying to design a microwave oven for a particular demographic,” write Chipchase and Steinhardt. Their commute might give you “insight on the pressures that lead them to zap their food and eat it on the go.” page 149

Know your audience. “Tata Nano promised to revolutionize car ownership by developing the cheapest car in the world,” write Chipchase and Steinhardt. But no one wanted to drive “the cheapest care in the world.” Page 194

Although developing a new product can be the event that skyrockets you to fame and fortune, let me leave you a couple of thoughts on product development:
"Nothing seems to take more time, cost more money, involve more pitfalls or break more careers than do new product programs." - Theodore Leavett

“It’s also important to wipe out the myth that successful new product development comes from a flurry of creative idea generation from the R&D labs.  New ideas are a dime a dozen; the challenge is to shape them into concepts and nurture them into new products with a competitive advantage.” - Thomas Kuczmarski
“Never before in history has innovation offered promise of so much to so many in so short a time.” -Bill Gates

"Before You build a better mousetrap, make sure you have some mice out there." - Yogi Berra
"In Plain Sight"
from Amazon
source: "Hidden in Plain Sight: How to Create Extraordinary Products for Tomorrow's Customers"
(HarperBusiness) Jan Chipchase with Simon Steinhardt; Bloomberb Businessweek 4/22/13-4/28/13

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