Yesterday I was pitching a totally innovative never-been-done-before six-figure customer support, training, and marketing initiative for a multi-ten-figure product line with extremely high gross margin to the board of an industry-leading company when someone piped up and said the same thing every scared decision-phobic exec always says when presented with a new idea:
Maybe we should do a focus group or something – ask our customers if this is something they would like.
So I was happy to see James Dyson’s quote at the Independent:
“You can’t go out and do market research to try to solve these problems about what to do next because usually, or very often, you’re doing the opposite of what market research would tell you. You can’t base a new project two years ahead on current market trends and what users are thinking at the moment. That sounds very arrogant. But it isn’t arrogance. You can’t go and ask your customers to be your inventors. That’s your job.”
There’s a time and a place for listening to clients … but usually it’s not when you’re inventing some new product or service. People want what they know. They literally can’t want what they don’t know.
Innovation often comes from the edges – and sometimes that’s clients – but unless you’re incredibly smart at reading between the lines, focus groups usually tell you what you already know.
(In case you’re wondering, we’re reconvening next week to get to yes – or no.)[tags] dyson, innovation, business, strategy, john koetsier [/tags]
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