Needs can only be satisfied by providing functions

Last Tuesday we continued with the Value Model, introduced by Per Lindsted earlier in the course. The Kano model refines how we can look at, and play with, needs to satisfy for the customer. But as needs can only be satisfied by providing functions, we also spent much time on functional thinking. Being able to define functions minimalistically, as noun-verb-noun, is a powerful way to prepare for solution design and effective internal discussions in the company.

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The strict syntax also helps mapping functions into a system, where main and additional functions increase customer value and are provided by support functions. Optimally, a solution should provide the required functions at a minimum cost.

You are recommended to watch a video clip based on a similar, but more limited framework. It will be an interesting and good reinforcement of the main learnings. Please reflect on you project ideas while watching it.

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5 responses to “Needs can only be satisfied by providing functions

  1. On a high level, the video details an innovation framework based on the idea of lean, which has been discussed during previous lectures and blog posts.

    What I found interesting, which I think could be valuable for our work with the group assignments, is the part about JTBD, or ‘job-to-be-done’ as a tool for making sure that innovation stays outcome driven (ODI). This approach allows the entrepreneur not to focus on a specific need, say ‘having access to music through some portable medium’, but instead focuses on the core activity, ‘listening to music’. In that framing, it becomes obvious that old stationary record players met the same need as the iPod, except for differences in how the services were delivered.

    This (ODI), in combination with the segmentation technique (OBS) proposed at the end of the video, could make for a much better assessment of market needs, while at the same time being open to specific changes in needs from different segments of a market. As of now, our identified market is very homogenous, and we could certainly improve our targeting by using better segmentation of potential future customers.

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  2. I believe the job-to-be done segment is especially interesting for our project as it is important for us to understand what the customers’ habits are and how and if we can change them. If we also can understand when during the day, the changes has the most positive impact on their daily life it could generate more positive results. Using the job map it would also improve the modification of our product as our market shares grows.

    I also believe that the value based selling could be of interest for us as we want to sell our product to the public transport service providers. With the model, it is quite easy to generate a vision of how money the can save with our product as the customers change their travel patterns. As they invest a lot of money to address the congestion problems, all solutions that save them money should be of interest for them. Also measuring the different functions value for the end customer to create a product that is interesting enough to keep continue using is something I believe is important and of value for our project.

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  3. The idea in our assignment is a service, it’s not something the customer has to buy or own, it just solves an issue they have which is a good start in these times. However, we can’t just assume that there is an issue, we need to be sure that people are interested in our solution. The first step to do this is with various interviews and perhaps us trying to act as a potential customer. Is this service something we have wished for before? If yes, then others probably have as well. Continuing, what do the customers actually want? Equally important is to not make the service something that it shouldn’t be. By this I mean that we have to make sure that the main function is perfect before even thinking about adding more stuff. Adding more functions is a delicate choice, if done correctly it’s one of the few strategies that can increase value of a product. However, if gone wrong it can rapidly reduce the customer experience in a way that might be impossible fix. Our best bet would probably be value based selling in by simply showing how much they can save by using our service. It will be hard to argue that they can save time, maybe they even have to pay for the service with their time.

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  4. The historic way of creating customer value was to first evaluate needs, then to develop a product strategy and product development which in turn leads tio testing validation and finally launch. However, there are many that believes that this way of developing a business is way too inefficient as you don’t actually know what the market wants until after launch. The imortance of understanding the need your company is trying to satisfy is crucial in order to succeed. For the main assignment a good place to start is to check whether or not the need we are trying to satisfy actually exist. Being the most risky assumption, the testing of such assumptions is everything when trying to create a lean startup (or even a startup in particular). Furthermore, the mapping of different outcome-based segmentations is also a good way to evaluate your potential customers and how they respond to different sense needs. Outcome driven innovation is a great tool for developing a strong market strategy and will strenghten the business’ ability to harvest the potential to a larger extent. The main assigment will benefit from such strategies but one must be aware of what the basic need is in order for ODI to provide the additional utility that is being sought after.

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  5. Better late than never! My personal experience from work is that almost any lenghty and (in hindsight) unproductive meeting/conversation is due to the fact that the participants don’t agree on the preliminaries. Much in the same way the videos touches upon that there exist a discord within companies about what truly constitutes a “need”. A framework like this then, is a good way to reduce that complexity in discussions and brain storming as you force the participants to “co-align” their thoughts in a model which is evident, clear and easy to grasp. I really like the way “ODI” formalizes the innovation process programmatically, but I do think the earlier segment is prone to “christmas treeing”. They present a framework to more objectively identify needs and customer segments (OBS), but they fail to incorporate a method to prioritize and “MVP” the process as to not over-engineer a solution. I guess they DO think about it, but I feel that the presentation lacks a discussion on how to stay focused and precise when the “unmet need landscape” might consist of 20-30 different needs. How do we – in practice – make that to a service or product? Should it be several, where do we start, how do we cash flow manage the innovation process as to not build a complex system from the get go, so to say.

    In our perspective, it is great. We have several customers with different needs and I believe this approach highlights what we felt complex when our idea covered some, but not all, needs of several groups. The grouping would’ve been different if we’d segmented ON the needs, instead of our classical “stakeholder segmentation”.

    I do believe, in summation, that it is a really good framework. Not really because it unlocks some marvelous inherent truth about innovation but insofar that it atleast gets everyone in the room, to talk about the same thing in a structured way.

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