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From Fuzzy to Focused
How to Interpret & Translate Customer Insights into Innovative New Products

September 26-28, 2005 / Boston, MA

Pre-Conference Workshops:
Monday, April 25 — 8:30am-4:30PM
    Using "Voice of the Customer" to Improve Innovation Capability and Profitability

    Christina Hepner Brodie
    , PRTM
    More Info


    What Customers Want: Using Outcome-Driven Innovation to Create Breakthrough New Products & Services

    Tony Ulwick, Strategyn
    More Info

Workshop A

Using "Voice of the Customer" to Improve Innovation Capability and Profitability

Christina Hepner Brodie
Lead Principal

As the market gains momentum, developing sustainable innovation capability has become a key focus across many industries. In an era where cost consciousness has driven countless “lean” and outsourcing initiatives, a customer-focused approach is critical to creating [profitable] breakthrough products. Voice of the Customer (VoC) methods can make the difference.

Yet building Voice of the Customer capability into product development processes is often more challenging than it first appears.

This workshop will give you the tools you need to:

  • Understand the vital role Voice of the Customer can play in strategic planning, technology and product development, and Six Sigma initiative

  • Determine whether qualitative or quantitative Voice of the Customer methods and tools are more appropriate for decision making in your organization

  • Gain management support for Voice of the Customer initiatives

  • Prepare a VoC project plan for a qualitative customer engagement

  • Distinguish customer requirements from product requirements and specifications

  • Translate “voice data” into clearly stated customer requirements

From this workshop, you will take home:

  • A framework for seeing the diverse opportunities where Voice of the Customer capability can add value to your organization

  • A framework for understanding which tools to use for which purpose

  • A plan for a qualitative customer engagement

Christina Hepner Brodie, a Lead Principal of PRTM, has over fifteen years of experience working with companies to manage and develop new products and services, and improve performance through sharpened up-front definition. Co-author of Voices into Choices: Acting on the Voice of the Customer, Brodie is renowned for enabling business strategy and new product development teams to understand market dynamics and customer requirements first hand. She has introduced executives, senior managers, and new product developers to Voice of the Customer methodologies at over eighty companies in the U.S., Japan, Korea, New Zealand and Europe.

Workshop B

What Customers Want:
Using Outcome-Driven Innovation to Create Breakthrough New Products & Services

Anthony W. Ulwick

Leading-edge companies have come to realize that being customer-driven is just not good enough. Breakthrough solutions are still rare and most innovation initiatives are either abandoned or fail, costing Fortune 1000 companies between $50 million and $800 million each year. It is time to take innovation to the next level – but how? When evolving any critical business process, companies must start by asking:

  • Do I have the right process inputs?

  • Can I control the factors that introduce process variability?

  • Can I ensure a predictable result?

As it turns out, customer-driven thinking fails on all these fronts and often causes the failures that companies are fervently trying to avoid. By applying Six Sigma principles to the process of innovation, however, companies are able to create more valued products, in less time, and at less cost then ever before.

This approach, which has been developed and proven over the past 15 years, is called the outcome-driven approach to innovation because is focuses on the measurable outcomes customers want to achieve when using products and services to get specific jobs done. This cutting-edge thinking has been adopted by firms such as Microsoft, Bosch, Syngenta, State Farm and others to drive their sustaining and disruptive innovation initiatives.

In this seminar you will learn:

  • What factors currently derail the innovation process.

  • How to formulate an innovation strategy.

  • What customer inputs are needed to master the innovation process and why traditional voice-of-the-customer methods are faulty.

  • How to discover and prioritize opportunities for growth and innovation.

  • How to segment markets for the purpose of innovation.

  • How to target the best opportunities for growth.

  • How to better position existing products and services so as to solidly connect product advantages with underserved customer outcomes.

  • How to prioritize products and services in the development pipeline, e.g., determine which address opportunities and which do not.

  • How to systematically devise breakthrough product and service concepts.

  • What organizational barriers stand in the way of pursuing innovative concepts.

"Segmenting for the Purpose of Innovation" the excerpt...

Tony Ulwick is the CEO of Strategyn, a consulting firm specializing in the management of innovation. Since 1991 he has worked with dozens of companies throughout Europe, Asia, the Pacific Rim and North America, helping to develop product and service strategies for telecommunication systems, pace makers, surgical equipment, test equipment, avionics, water filtration systems, industrial packaging, power tools, two-way portable and mobile radios, composite materials, software products and other products and services. He is the author of What Customers Want, published by McGraw Hill in July 2005. He is also the author of “Turn Customer Input Into Innovation”, published in the January 2002 issue of the Harvard Business Review and recognized as one of the years best business ideas by HBR editors in the March 2002 issue.

Available Mon-Fri 
9:30am-5pm est

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