Why you need to measure customers’ JTBD

December 23, 2016 · Posted in business, innovation, strategy · Comment 

Why you need Qualitative interviews & Quantitative measurements plus a map of the complete idea space for successful JTBD.

“What if the unmet needs are so clear that you can match them to R&D pipeline?”

Great question and I love that you’re testing assumptions and generalizations that’s an important part of solving seemingly unsolvable problems.
The answer in one word strategy.

Product or business?

What is your goal? Are you trying to create a one-time flash-in-the-pan product or a profitable sustainable business? There’s nothing wrong with a one-off product for short-term needs. As a business strategy that tends to be much more risky and cost more than growing a product into a family of related products and services.


If the unmet needs are so clear how are you going to deal with competition? This is another point about risk and profitability.


Which of the needs are most important?
Which of the needs are most profitable?

Will the product properly satisfy?

What level of each benefit do customers require to satisfy each unmet need? If you deliver something that’s too low they won’t buy. If you deliver something that’s too high they also might not be because the product is too expensive. Either way you miss customers and lose money you could have otherwise had.

Time to deliver

How long to get it through the pipeline? Waiting until customers are screaming for a product makes it difficult to get the most value from that market. It also introduces tremendous risk. Someone else might satisfy it before you do including customers. Short deadlines cause stress on developers & breeds low quality products.

Too little too late

If you’re targeting a short-term product then the amount of the market you can reach might not have enough value to give you a good return on investment. And even this would benefit from quantitative measurements.


Those are only a some of the reasons you need Qualitative interviews & Quantitative measurements plus a map of the complete idea space for successful JTBD. You can only do that with Predictive Innovation.

How to Predict Future Innovation

December 11, 2006 · Posted in innovation, prediction · 6 Comments 

When I first started writing this I titled it “How to Predict Future Inventions.” I changed that because inventions don’t really change the world. People have invented thousands of silly things that didn’t and shouldn’t have caught on. Innovation is more than invention. Innovation is satisfying a need or want. Innovation has a human element and the engineering element.

To predict future innovations first figure out what people will want then design ways to satisfy those needs and desires. I hear you saying, “Well, duh! We already do marketing research and have lots of engineers & designers working on new products.”

Notice I didn’t say what people currently want. In the past it might have been good enough to supply current demand but everything is moving so quickly today that by the time you deliver on current demands someone else will have likely already done it and the need is satisfied or the market is so changed that your product has a hard time getting traction.

You might also say, “If I could predict a future innovation I would patent it and be rich.” Well, in future articles I’ll explain why patents often aren’t the correct approach; but, for now, would you like me to give you a patentable future innovation?

People always want more, faster and with less hassle. Until they have the ultimate, their desires steadily progress to the next level of more. If you want to predict future innovations first describe the ultimate.

Since iPods are popular these days and seem to be a big innovation I’ll give you the ultimate innovation on the iPod. First what is an iPod? It’s a way to listen to music. There is nothing new about listening to music. People have been listening to music since the beginning of time. What is the ultimate in listening to music?

The ultimate of anything is,

  • What I want
  • When I want
  • How I want
  • Where I want
  • Who I want it with, for, or from.

Anything that matches all 5 ultimate desires for a particular want, such as listening to music, is the direction all future innovations for that product will head. So that means we can predict the final innovation. Predicting an innovation between now and the then is just a matter of applying current technology to better satisfy one of the 5 ultimate desires.

Are you starting to see how predicting future innovation is possible? Let’s look at the example of listening to music to help bring it into focus and to reveal that patentable future innovation.

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