Category Archives: innovation

Pleasing the Customer

What pleases the customer? When you give them something they want? Maybe. But would they be more pleased if you give them something they didn’t expect, but might love?

I just finished the Steve Jobs biography . It seems Jobs was not a fan of market research. You know, those studies that try to find out what people want.

Steve Jobs

The problem with market research, other than it’s not reliable, is that it’s past tense. Surveys don’t discover what people will want in the future, they don’t even determine what people like now. What market research does is show you is what customers have liked up to this point. We really can’t predict what we will like in the future, can we? Go ahead, try to predict the new food you will love next month. You won’t know until you taste it.

Writing on the Customer’s Blank Page

The challenge is to create those things customers want, but don’t yet know they want. What Jobs called ‘reading things that are not yet on the page,’  his way of describing the Apple approach to innovation. Jobs and Apple continuously amazed us with things we wanted only after they wrote them on our blank page. How, and how can you do the same with your customers?

Jobs’ answer was not to create products, or strive for profit, but instead to create art. He thought of himself as an artist, and considered Apple the intersection of Artistry + Technology. Jobs was obsessive about the details that made a product beautiful and elegant. There’s no doubt he had insights into what the future might hold for technology, but so did others. What makes Apple products different is the art.

I think that’s what each business needs to find: their intersection. Insurance + ____________, Education + ___________, Dry Cleaning + ____________. That blank is the outside-your-industry influence that makes you unique, innovative. It allows you to create products and services, so that when a customer turns the page, the don’t see a blank sheet, they see something that they previously didn’t know they wanted, but now love.

What’s your intersection?

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How to Create Value

We know that most people are NOT price only shoppers. What customers really want is a good value. Real value is when the customer believes they are getting something greater than the price they are paying. There are two sides to this equation, the price side and the value side, as I demonstrated here: The Price

Innovation: Turning Things Upside Down

I was having lunch with Eric Brown of The Urbane Lab last week, discussing innovation and how to find “the next big thing.” Eric picked up the Heinz Ketchup bottle on the table and said: “look at ketchup, all they did was turn the bottle upside down.” That simple innovation revived the ketchup industry, but

Is there innovation in the way in which an innovation is communicated to the world?

Guest Post by Jim Morris If you develop a truly innovative product or service, the world isn’t familiar with it. No one knows that it exists. The barrier of the unknown needs to be obliterated. This can only be done through communication. But does communication about innovation need to be innovative itself? Certainly, creativity comes

>Questions That Could be Worth a Fortune

>Note: I am enjoying the slopes of New Mexico this weekend and so I have asked a couple of friends to do some guest blogging. Jerad Kaliher writes the Bust A Change blog on innovation and also has a passion for marketing. Enjoy his perspective on innovation in marketing. By Jerad KaliherHave you ever stopped

Is Radio Advertising Dying?

Innovation watchdog Jerad Kahliher points out that for the first time ever, internet advertising revenue has surpassed radio advertising revenue. One commenter asked the question: How can radio catch up? Unfortunately, it may be too late for radio to catch up. Radio missed the ship that left the dock a few years ago when the

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