Why take a “leap of faith” when you could take a leap of confidence—more quickly and cheaply?

Lean Startup methodology refers to “Leap of Faith Assumptions,” and recommends testing assumptions with customers at the first opportunity. For B2B, this “first opportunity” to learn comes before a prototype is created… through VOC interviews to mine the foresight of knowledgeable customers. Don’t miss this B2B adjustment to Lean Startup.

Read more in this white paper, Lean Startup for B2B (page 6).

Got cool technology? Great. Just test it silently with customers.

Avoid “technology push.” But should you just leave your technology quivering on the lab bench? Hardly. Conduct customer interviews without mentioning your technology. If customer outcomes match your technology… wonderful! Otherwise, look for different technology (for this market), or look for another market (for this technology).

More in article, Should You Develop New Products like Steve Jobs? (Originally published in B2B Organic Growth newsletter).

It’s hard to create differentiated products if you don’t behave differently.

Companies that want differentiated products often behave the same as competitors. They can’t say, “Our R&D staff is 20% smarter than competitors’, so our products usually win.” But they could win by understanding customer needs better than competitors… letting them “aim” their R&D brainpower much better. Be different to differentiate.

More in article, Do You Really Interview Customers?

An unbreakable link exists between customer outcomes and your organic growth.

Here’s the logic: You want profitable, sustainable growth. The only way to achieve this growth is through customer value creation. And all value creation comes from improving important, unmet customer outcomes. So, the better you understand customer outcomes, the better your growth can be. Are you doing this better than competitors?

More in white paper, Catch the Innovation Wave (page 9).

To ensure more product failures, simply avoid divergent and convergent interviews.

Skip qualitative divergent interviews and you’ll fail to uncover unexpected customer outcomes. You simply don’t know what you don’t know. Overlook quantitative, convergent interviews and you’ll fail to tightly focus R&D on those outcomes customers deem important and unsatisfied… the only ones worthy of a price premium.

More in white paper, Timing is Everything (page 8).

Technology development is quite different than product development.

Technology development is science-facing and converts money into knowledge. Product development is market-facing and converts knowledge back into money. Both are critical, but don’t confuse them. And never do any product development until you have quantified, unbiased, unfiltered data on customer needs.

More in white paper, Timing is Everything (page 6).

If you think your employees are passionate about earnings per share, you’re out of touch.

When recruiting John Sculley from Pepsi, Steve Jobs asked, “Do you want to sell sugar water the rest of your life, or do you want to come with me and change the world?” Most employees paid no attention to your last quarter’s earnings-per-share. But they’ll tell their grandkids how their new product turned an industry upside-down.

More in article, Why Maximizing Shareholder Value is a Flawed Goal (Originally published in B2B Organic Growth).

Validating hypotheses with customers may have been OK once. When fedoras were worn.

In many areas of life, there’s the “old way” and the “new way.” Does your company still develop “hypotheses” internally, and then meet with customers to validate them? This can lead to confirmation bias for you and stifled yawns for your customers. In the “new way,” you start by uncovering customer needs, not by internally “ideating” your solutions.

More in article, Give your Hypothesis the “Silent Treatment” (Originally published in B2B Organic Growth newsletter).

How wide is your knowing-doing gap?

Most companies know they should be interviewing customers to understand their needs. But how many have changed behavior? Are most of your new-product teams out there doing great interviews when no one is looking? The knowing-doing gap is the corporate version of the New Year’s resolution, with results just as impressive.

More in article, Where New Product Ideas Begin (Originally published in B2B Organic Growth newsletter).

A supplier’s only path to profitable, sustainable growth is customer value creation.

Nothing you do within your operation will achieve such growth, unless customer value is also created. With operational efficiency alone, you’re in a race to the bottom. Quality and productivity improvements are important… but in isolation eventually lead to commoditization, as you and competitors approach a point of diminishing returns.

More in white paper, Catch the Innovation Wave (page 9).