Pursuing the right customer needs requires divergent and convergent thinking… in that order.

For every job a customer does, there are dozens of potential outcomes… so diverge with customers to uncover far more than competitors. Then ask for 1-10 importance and satisfaction ratings so your R&D can converge on the important, unsatisfied outcomes… while competitors guess. I’d like to make this sound more complicated, but it’s not.

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

Look for Landmines and Launchpads… especially in unfamiliar markets.

A Landmine can kill your project… but who steps on a Landmine they can see? When you convert assumptions and questions into facts, you make landmines visible and therefore harmless. A Launchpad is an unexpected, high-value customer outcome. Discover these before competitors to develop solutions in a “competition-free zone.”

More in white paper, Innovating in Unfamiliar Markets (page 13).

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).

All great VOC interviews are alike; every unhappy interview is unhappy in its own way.

With apologies to Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina… all great voice-of-customer interviews are alike in the same way: The customer is talking during most of the interview. And they are talking about those outcomes (desired end results) they want to talk about. Anything else is clutter, much of which leads to unhappiness.

More in article, The Missing Objective in B2B VOC (Originally published in B2B Organic Growth Newsletter)