Digital Twins

What is the process used by my customer to discover my product?

Do you have a digital twin? The concept first formed on consumer sites like Yelp, but it’s becoming a catchphrase in marketing and sales. The idea is that dedicated users of sites like Yelp eventually notice that there are other users whose tastes, interests, and “favorites” match their own. These digital twins do not “know” […]

Savings from your input cost

What input, if reduced, would allow me to cut the price by 25 percent?

There is a reason that the percentage in this question is as high as it is. Sure, it would sound less scary and more reasonable if I asked you how you could cut your price by 5 percent, or maybe 8 percent, but that would be missing the point. If you want potentially game-changing moves […]

Looking at information and ideas

What are we throwing away because we assume it has no value?

My wife is famous for being a little frugal. She once routed me and our son Logan from Las Vegas to Phoenix to Los Angeles and finally to San Jose because she could save twenty bucks each over the nonstop fare. Kind of nuts, right? But if I’m honest I have the same mind-set in […]

Develop…then design later?

In what order do you do the R&D process? What would be the result if you flipped it?

In the traditional R&D process, the product is developed and then handed off to the design team to “wrap” it and make it look pretty. The drawback is that this approach is out of date; in the last ten years consumers have become much more design-savvy. Consumers want functional, usable design that highlights ease of […]

In-house or Outsource as Needed?

Where do we perform product research and development? Where else could this be done?

What is your organization’s philosophy about design and development? Do you keep everything in-house, or do you outsource as needed? There are two schools of thoughts on this. By keeping the design process in-house, a company can build a sense of continuity and cohesion that links the entire family of products together in a satisfying […]

Is The Project Worth Pursuing?

What are the criteria to select research and development projects?

What are your criteria for deciding that an idea is worth pursuing? We all have our own set of selection criteria, the first of which is usually looking for profits. However, selecting a course of action based solely on ROI can be limiting. If you are doing something really innovative, how on earth can you […]

The Battle for Customers

What would happen if I realigned my industry relationships (i.e., partners, suppliers, etc.)?

Odds are that you and your competitors are actually competing in two distinct ways. The obvious battle is the one to win customers from each other. The less obvious, but equally important, one is the battle for the resources required to produce your product. In chapter 2, we touched on the concept of unexpected jolts, […]

Designing over the competition

What industries are analogous to ours, and what can we learn from them?

No matter what business we are in, we are all fighting essentially the same fight—designing a product that a customer will prefer over that of our competitor. To do this, we need to constantly be aware of how our business environment is evolving, how our customers are changing, and what we need to modify in […]

Make it Happen, First!

What Comes Next?

A few years ago I saw a website offering a product called After the Rapture Pet Care. It claimed to offer a service for Christians concerned about the welfare of pets that would be left behind after the Day of Judgment. Subscribers were promised a network of non-Christians who’d swoop in, collect pets, and promise […]

Stay Relevant— The Changing Nature of Products

How could my product change in five years?

Do you sell atoms or bytes? Do you think that your answer could change over the next five years? Think about Amazon and the Kindle. Jeff Bezos asked, What is my role going to be if the nature of books changes? He realized that to stay relevant and necessary his company needed to retain control […]