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#NoBullshitCX #20yearsFuturelab

“Consumers should care. Check that.”

Ever tried to convince engineers they are doing something wrong? When we advised a global electronics manufacturer on their innovation process, I thought their heads of R&D would bite my head off for even thinking of changing it. The company was, after all, known for their cutting-edge technologies devised through blue-sky research. What do these consultants know about engineering anyway?

However, the issue at hand was not bad engineering, it was poor commercialization. Too many innovations didn’t find traction with customers. For example, the latest prenatal 3D-imaging device failed to sell to reproductive health doctors who thought their 2D machines did the job just fine. But a licensing company in the US managed to achieve major success with it. Instead of selling to doctors, they appealed to patients. A top practice in New York installed the machine and gave DVDs with scans to the expecting mothers. Instead of bleary black-and-white prints, the patients got clear 3D images of their babies which they could show to their families. Within weeks, US clinics who received patient requests started ordering the new devices.

We used this case as a hook to engage the R&D people. They didn’t have to stop their blue-sky research but rather incorporate the needs of the end customers into it. It allowed them to understand the actual consumer value, which in its turn helped to shape up product marketing and sales.

Are you giving your people a “Why should I care?”? Most people want to contribute, they just don’t know how.

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