What Customers Want: Using Outcome-Driven Innovation to Create Breakthrough Products and Services

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9780071408677: What Customers Want: Using Outcome-Driven Innovation to Create Breakthrough Products and Services

A world-renowned innovation guru explains practices that result in breakthrough innovations

"Ulwick's outcome-driven programs bring discipline and predictability to the often random process of innovation."


-Clayton Christensen

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, breakthrough innovations are still rare, and most companies find that 50 to 90 percent of their innovation initiatives flop. The cost of these failures to U.S. companies alone is estimated to be well over $100 billion annually.

In a book that challenges everything you have learned about being customer driven, internationally acclaimed 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.

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 unfitting and dreadfully 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 "metrics that customers use to measure success when executing the jobs, tasks or activities they are trying to get done." Using these customer desired outcomes as inputs into the innovation process eliminates much of the chaos and variability that typically derails innovation initiatives.

With the same profound insight, simplicity, and uncommon sense that propelled The Innovator's Solution to worldwide acclaim, this paradigm-changing book details an eight-step approach that uses outcome-driven thinking to dramatically improve every aspect of the innovation process--from segmenting markets 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 which ideas, technologies, and acquisitions 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 book arms you with the tools to unleash innovation, lower costs, and reduce failure rates--and create the products and services customers really want.

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From the Back Cover:

From the Back Cover

"Ulwick's outcome-driven programs bring discipline and predictability to the often random process of innovation."
--Clayton Christensen, author of The Innovator's Solution

"We are institutionalizing across the entire company desired outcomes as the essential form of customer input we collect in research, and we've seen the powerful results it's had in our product development, marketing, and sales groups."
--Jeff Baker, Senior Market Research Manager, Corporate Market Research, Microsoft

"Outcome-driven thinking made it possible for us to hit a home run in the mature and competitive circular saw market. The Bosch CS20 is a breakthrough innovation and a hit with both users and our channel partners."
--Jason Schickerling, Product Manager, Bosch CS20

"Being outcome-driven enabled us to grow our market share in the angioplasty balloon market from less than 1 percent to over 20 percent and to create the stent, which became a billion-dollar business in less than two years."
--Rick Faleschini, Vice President of Marketing, Johnson & Johnson

"This approach enabled us to devise breakthrough Web-based service solutions and to make valued operational process changes. Knowing where to focus our creativity made all the difference in the world."
--Paul Zarookian, Executive Vice President, Financing Division, A. I. Imperial

"This methodology was used to create the PRO7150 and the TalkAbout--two of our best-selling radio products to date. It was also used to build a valuable patent portfolio in the fuel cell market without making a large investment in technology."
--Dr. Robert Pennisi, Director, Advanced Product Technology Center, Motorola

About the Author:

Anthony Ulwick is the CEO of Strategyn, a pioneer and world leader in outcome-driven innovation. Since 1991 he has served as a consultant to Johnson & Johnson, Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, AIG, Chiquita Brands, and dozens of other leading corporations. Mr. Ulwick's innovation practices were recognized by the editors of the Harvard Business Review as some of the best business ideas of 2002.

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