Are you experiencing the Red Queen Effect?

In Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass, Alice was dismayed after much running to find she and the queen were still in the same spot. The Red Queen explained, “My dear, here we must run as fast as we can, just to stay in place. And if you wish to go any­where, you must run twice as fast as that.” What are you doing that truly lets you “run faster” than competitors? Here’s one that works: Understand customer needs better than them.

More in white paper, Guessing at Customer Needs (page 7).

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?

Be paranoid about the innovation capabilities your competitors may be building.

If your new product development process does not require customer interviews today, consider two questions: 1) Do I have competitors beating me to the new product punch because they are using such interviews to uncover market needs? 2) Could I leapfrog them by building a company-wide competency of B2B-optimized interviews?

More in article, B2B Customer Interviews: Are They Different?

Don’t count on your R&D people being brighter than competitors’.

Will you win because your R&D people are 20% smarter than the competition’s? If that logic sounds shaky, here’s a suggestion: What if your R&D worked only on problems customers truly cared about… while competitors kept guessing what to work on? Would that be a competitive advantage? This is easier than you think… but maybe you’d rather try to hire geniuses.

More in white paper, Catch the Innovation Wave (page 4)