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Management Roundtable presents the first annual
Customer Needs Discovery
& Innovation Congress
Beyond 'Voice' to Total User Experience

August 13-15, 2007 / Chicago, IL

Keynote Presentations

  • From Ethnography to Innovative Products: It's Not "Add Research and Stir"
    Herman D'Hooge,
    Innovation Strategist, Intel

    More Info

  • Pragmatic Innovation—Using Stakeholder Insights to Deliver Highly Valued Products
    Johnathan Cagan,
    Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University; and co-author, Creating Breakthrough Products and The Design of Things to Come

    More Info

  • What is a Customer Need? Defining the Inputs Into Innovation
    Tony Ulwick
    , CEO, Strategyn and author, What Customers Want
    More Info

  • Customer-Centric Innovation to Drive Growth
    Peter J. Skarzynski
    , CEO and Founder, Strategos

    More Info

  • Glue Your Finger to the Customer's Pulse
    Christopher Meyer, PhD
    , Chairman, Strategic Alignment Group, author, Fast Cycle Time

    More Info

From Ethnography to Innovative Products: It's Not "Add Research and Stir"
Herman D’Hooge
Innovation Strategist

Methods such as ethnography, needs-finding, customer orientation, user centricity, market-driven, voice of the customer, usability, total user experience, etc. are rapidly gaining widespread acceptance as essential to informing product definition & design.

Understanding why these methods offer superior results is relatively straightforward and many agencies offer services to companies that lack the in-house competencies or don’t know how to go about it.

The real challenge is embedding user-orientation deeply within an established organization’s DNA so it becomes systemic and the user is kept alive throughout the entire development process. This is especially true in organizations with established processes that do not have a user-centered tradition.

The speaker will share tips and techniques for how to get user-orientation off the ground in large companies based on learnings from Intel’s recent transformation into a user-oriented company.

Key Take-aways:

  • How to keep the user’s needs alive throughout the development lifecycle

  • Making user research and user experience design actionable

  • Injecting accountability for the user experience quality into the development process

  • Common pitfalls that may result in marginalizing the influence of user centered practitioners

  • Changing mindsets and culture

Herman D’Hooge is Innovation Strategist with Intel’s Channel Platforms Group where he established the user-centered design & innovation competency chartered with bringing innovative & exciting new end-user experiences to personal computing that are informed by real user needs and desires. The approach relies on a team of ethnographers, user researchers, human factors engineers, industrial designers, interaction designers, technologists and engineers who bring a user-centered approach to envisioning new user experiences and informing technology development.

Herman joined Intel in 1981 and has held various positions in technology research, development, platform architecture, industry evangelism, and management in areas ranging from multi-processor computer architectures, PC system architecture, operating systems, computer security, fault tolerance, distributed systems, computer-telephony integration, “new users, new uses” applications research, branded consumer products and smart toys.

Mr. D’Hooge received an MS in Electrical Engineering and an MS in Computer Science both from the University of Ghent, Belgium. His professional interests are in understanding how technology can meaningfully impact people’s lives and how user-centered methods can be practically applied to inform technology innovation.


Pragmatic Innovation—Using Stakeholder Insights to Deliver Highly Valued Products
Jonathan Cagan 
Professor of Mechanical Engineering
Carnegie Mellon University

Ethnographic and other qualitative research methods are powerful tools to gain insights into the needs, wants and desires of key stakeholders. However, using those insights is often a challenge. This talk will highlight methods to gain actionable insights and convert those insights into a value proposition that addresses stakeholders’ personal commitment to a product or service. The resulting value proposition can then be converted into a product definition that provides the basis for product conceptualization and refinement. Case studies will show a variety of applications of the methods and their implications for downstream product delivery.

Key take-aways include:

  • Analysis of market dynamics to understand product context

  • Articulation and evaluation of value attributes

  • Use of Value Opportunity Analysis to benchmark competition against product potential

  • Translation of value attributes to product specifications

Jonathan Cagan, Ph.D., P.E., is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, with appointments in the School of Design, Computer Science, and BioMedical Engineering. He is an expert in product development and innovation methods for early stage product development. Both his design methods and computer-based design research have been applied in a variety of industries. He is the author of two books: “Creating Breakthrough Products” (co-authored with Craig Vogel), and” The Design of Things to Come” (co-authored with Peter Boatwright and Craig Vogel). He has also authored more than 65 archival journal publications. Cagan has consulted with a variety of small and large companies in diverse areas on product development, brand strategy, and strategic planning. He is co-founder and Chief Technologist of DesignAdvance Systems, Inc., a company focused on developing CAD software for the early synthesis processes. Prof. Cagan teaches new product development at Carnegie Mellon and in executive training sessions in small and large companies. He also co-directs the Masters in Product Development program at Carnegie Mellon. Cagan is a Fellow of ASME.

What is a Customer Need? Defining the Inputs Into Innovation
Anthony Ulwick

Innovation is the key to company growth, yet its structure as a business process is poorly understood, its execution is highly inefficient and its output is unpredictable. Why? Because the inputs into the innovation process are poorly defined and not agreed upon.

Innovation is the process of devising solutions that address unmet customer needs. To excel at executing this process, a company must be able to identify all the customer’s needs, determine which of those needs are unmet, and devise solutions that satisfy those unmet needs.

Sounds simple enough, but companies struggle to innovate because, (1) there is no agreed-on standard that defines just what a “need” is, that is, what its purpose, structure, content, and format should be, and (2) there is no agreed-on standard as to what “unmet” means and how the degree to which a need is unmet should be quantified. If companies cannot agree on what a need is and which are unmet, how can they agree on which solutions best address them?

Outdated paradigms must be shattered and new standards are needed.

In this keynote address you will learn:

  • Just what a customer need is and how it should be defined.

  • Proven methods for determining which needs are unmet.

  • Focused methods for devising breakthrough solutions.

  • How accepting these statements as inputs into the innovation process simplifies all downstream activities including market segmentation, development and positioning – and reinvents the innovation process.

Anthony W. Ulwick, is the founder and CEO of Strategyn and a pioneer in the field of outcome-driven innovation. His latest book, What Customers Want (McGraw-Hill, 2005), is focused on the methodology he and his team have developed to help companies make innovation a science.

Mr. Ulwick is also the author of "Turn Customer Input into Innovation," which was published in the January 2002 issue of Harvard Business Review. The editors of HBR recognized the article's thesis as one of the year's best business ideas in the March 2002 issue. Mr. Ulwick's other articles include "Lost in Translation" and "A Prescription for Health Care Cost Reform," both of which ran in Strategy & Innovation, a publication of Harvard Business School Publishing.

Since 1991, Mr. Ulwick has served as a consultant to AIG, the Robert Bosch Corporation, Chiquita Brands, Coloplast Group, Dentsply International, Ecolab, Guidant Corporation, Hallmark, Hewlett-Packard Company, IBM, Intuit, Johnson & Johnson, J. R. Simplot Company, Medtronic, MeadWestvaco Corporation, Microsoft Corporation, Motorola, Pfizer, Rohm and Haas Company, State Farm Group, Syngenta, United Technologies Corporation, Vtech Holdings, and dozens of other organizations around the world, helping each create new products and services.

Mr. Ulwick is the key architect of Strategyn's innovation process and its innovation management software (IMS), the first enterprise software solution designed to simplify the innovation process. Mr. Ulwick holds several patents on his unique approach to innovation and strategy formulation.

Customer-Centric Innovation to Drive Growth

Peter Skarzynski
CEO and Founder

At one level, businesses have evolved to be more focused on the customer: “Meeting (or exceeding) the needs of our customers” or “delighting our customers” is in most companies’ mission statement; sophisticated market research and analysis techniques have become commonplace; and customer satisfaction measures are in many companies’ balanced scorecard of performance.

Yet moving from words and research to clear marketplace success has proven difficult for many organizations as they face significant challenges:

  • The increasing difficulty in retaining and increasing share from existing, best customers who demand more and more but are not willing to pay, thus commoditizing many markets.

  • Constantly fighting with competitors for the best customers, making them less attractive for everybody.

  • Finding and acquiring profitable new customers is increasingly difficult even after spending more and more in market research and marketing.

  • Insufficient successful innovation to achieve differentiation: competitors are often first to market with truly innovative and differentiated offerings; too many new product introduction failures even after spending millions on developing and marketing new products or services.

This session will describe innovation methods to help organizations:

  • Expand markets by getting closer to the dissatisfied non-buyers and convert them into profitable customers.

  • Develop sufficient foresight to understand both the future needs of existing customers and of tomorrow’s customers.

  • Engage lead customers to dramatically influence and/or foresee the future for all customers and gain a crucial advantage in time-to-market through experimentation that eliminates “analysis paralysis” while minimizing risk and maximizing learning based on actual customer experiences.

Peter Skarzynski is a founder of Strategos, and its CEO. Strategos professionals work with companies to renew their core business and embed a capability to innovate repeatedly, ahead of rivals. Over the last 20 years, Peter's consulting work has helped clients invigorate their approach to markets and set new rules for industry competition. Peter's experience cuts across consumer products and retail, energy and high technology. Peter is widely published on the topic of innovation across periodicals that include Dow Jones & Company, Economic Bulletin, Optimize Magazine, The San Jose Mercury News, Leader to Leader, CNET Chief Executive and Management Review. Most recently, Peter was named by editors and readers of Optimize magazine as one of four “Hot New Thinkers” in management practices and leadership (October, 2004). In addition Peter is a frequent corporate speaker and across many platforms has touted the benefits and returns associated with building innovation as a competency. His primary client focus has been to help client organization renew their core business through competence leverage and break-through business concept innovation. Peter holds an MBA in Finance and Marketing and a BA (with Honors) in Policy Studies and Economics from the University of Chicago.

Glue Your Finger to the Customer's Pulse

Christopher Meyer, PhD

Effectively using customer experience to drive product development requires more than Voice of the Customer workshops at the start of development. In fact, Dr. Meyer will argue that innovation success will require companies to commit to making customer experience an ongoing management process. Building on the framework introduced in his recently published article "Understanding Customer Experience," HBR, Feb. 2007, Dr. Meyer will discuss the resultant impact on performance by using a persistent rather than episodic approach, one in which customer experience is part of corporate strategy, understood and actively managed as part of the total growth strategy. Taking this type of approach, can change the way engineers and marketers operate - engineers will begin to think beyond speeds and feeds and marketers will move beyond traditional benefits and features.

Creating a closed-loop management process requires a persistent flow of information. Dr. Meyer will show how to create both a flow that enables product developers to reach further into the customers' experience to define next generation requirements vs. merely addressing today's most obvious concerns. Next, he’ll identify the structural changes that are required to transform information into action.

Come away with the following key learnings:

  • Understand the importance of the Customer Experience Promise

  • See how touch point analysis can significantly inform design

  • Shift Open Innovation's technology focus to a broader source of customer experience knowledge

Christopher Meyer, PhD, is chairman of the Strategic Alignment Group, Incorporated, and an academic affiliate of PRTM. Dr. Meyer specializes in helping companies drive growth through rapid innovation in strategy, portfolio optimization, and customer experience management. Dr. Meyer has designed and helped implement cycle time programs for Cisco Systems, Daimler-Chrysler, Emerson Electric, Genzyme Corporation, Hewlett-Packard, Johnson & Johnson, Exxon Mobil, Texas Instruments, Motorola, Procter & Gamble, Ericsson, and United Healthcare.

Blending over 30 years experience as an executive, consultant, and researcher, Dr. Meyer is the author of Fast Cycle Time: How to Align Purpose, Strategy and Structure for Speed. His latest Harvard Business Review article, "Understanding Customer Experience," (February 2007) shows how leaders harness customer experience to grow faster than competitors. Dr. Meyer's executive experience includes serving as vice president for human resources at Silicon Graphics Computer Systems and organizational effectiveness advisor at Zilog, Incorporated.

He served on the faculty of the University of Southern California and the University of Minnesota. Dr. Meyer received his PhD and masters in organization strategy and design from the University of Southern California. He holds a BS in economics from the Wharton School of Finance and Commerce.

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