Archive for Product Launch
Why don’t we hear about the emotional engineering discipline of Kansei? Why is that? As Design Thinking and Service Design have moved to the forefront in many organizations, we seem to have forgotten about this method. It is so unfamiliar, that I feel a need to define it first:
Kansei is a Japanese term with a broad interpretation that includes sensitivity, feelings, images, affections, emotions, wants, and needs. The term Kansei used in Kansei engineering refers to an organized state of mind in which emotions and images are held in the mind toward physical objects such as products or the environment. Others simplify it greatly by just referring to Kansei Engineering as sensory or emotional usability.
In today’s world, developing products/services requires an organization to understand the emotional needs and difficulties of their prospects and customers. Our product/service development should be centered on understanding value in use (Service Dominant Logic). Most organizations struggle in their attempts as they evaluate seas of data masqueraded in a method called voice of customer. Often, it loses the personality of the customer. As a result, the tendency is to view development as product/service centric rather than customer/user centric. The area of Empathy is very evident in Service Design and Design Thinking but gets lost in many engineering and product (goods) dominant centered cultures.
The Kansei of Kansei/Affective Engineering applies mainly to the customers’ feeling. If research and development (R&D) people are oriented to the customers’ wants and needs, the team will be successful in developing a good product, and the customer service people can fulfill the customers’ expectation. The service is also one of products, namely the service product. There are two different streams in product development, which are called product out and market in. The former implies a philosophy of product development based on technology developed in a company or based on the company strategy, without attention to customers’ wants and needs. Many inventions have emerged from this approach.
Another approach to product development is to focus on customer wants and needs. Nowadays people have many goods at home, and it is not easy to stimulate their purchasing behavior. But customer-oriented product development will be successful in selling a new product because the market-in philosophy leads to the development of a product that fits customers’ feelings and emotions. This is why Kansei-oriented development is needed in R&D activities.
A quick outline of the process (we will dig deeper in tomorrow’s blog post):
- Who are the customers?
- What do they want and need? (What is their Kansei?)
- How do I evaluate the customers’ Kansei.
- Analyze the Kansei data using statistical analysis
- Transfer the analyzed data
This concept is shown graphically below:
The customer’s Kansei has a variety of ways it can be demonstrated and addressed. Each measure could have its own path of development. An example below:
The choice is important, and not all paths will be chosen. It is the one or several that will emerge as the most critical and important to the customer. This may be done by observation of the customer, through prototypes, interviews etc.
Kansei/Affective Engineering is defined as the technology of translating the consumer’s Kansei into the product design domain (Nagamachi 1995,1999, 2005,2010). Most of the published material on this subject is in the two volume set Innovations of Kansei Engineering and Kansei Engineering, 2 Volume Set: Kansei/Affective Engineering (Industrial Innovation Series). The publisher, CRC Press, makes it difficult for you to know which should be the first volume to buy and/or if buying the second book includes material from the first since the title contains “2-volume set”. For a hefty price tag of $123.54 for the two it seems like it should be better defined. Especially for a blogger trying to research the subject.
P.S. More discussion in tomorrows blog post.
Disciplined Entrepreneurship: 24 Steps to a Successful Startup author Bill Aulet said this in an upcoming Business901 Podcast:
Bill: There is an enormous need for this. We’re already into, you know Joe, this is two weeks out and we’re going into our second printing. I have been blown away by the demand for this. I guess I shouldn’t be because as I just told you, when 20% of the people coming out of college want to be entrepreneurs and there’s not a fundamental base of knowledge or work, there’s no textbook if you want to become an economist you go read Samuelson, if you want to become a marketer you read Kotler. There’s no base knowledge for entrepreneurs right now and we need to do that so there’s a significant demand out there for it.
I’ve been really surprised at, when I used to say “Disciplined Entrepreneur” people would say entrepreneurs are not disciplined, that’s just an oxymoron and that’s one of the reasons why I named the book Disciplined Entrepreneurship. I wanted to shock people into realizing that there was something and to see the speed with which the people are adapting this has been really quite something that I’ve been surprised. I thought there would be more resistance.
The third thing I would say is that people still believe that entrepreneurship can’t be taught and that’s something that I just want to say stop being illogical, entrepreneurship can be taught. I’ll tell you my personal example and I’ll give you many more, why is it that the data is very clear that people who start multiple companies get better each time when they do it? That’s because you can learn something.
Joe: Another part I enjoyed about your book, and it was in the later stages is that you actually start putting numbers and quantifying things for people – calculating lifetime value, acquisition costs. I can say you’re one of the very, very few books about entrepreneurship that start addressing those issues.
Bill: In our class when you get a paper back, “this isn’t specific”, “this is too general” – this is some kind of MBA BS, we want numbers and give us numbers, relevant numbers, because, at the end of the day, business is about numbers that you need to make. If you don’t make it economically, you don’t have the oxygen. That doesn’t mean those should drive the business. You can be a mission driven business, a customer driven business but at the end of the day the numbers have to work. You think this is obvious. People talk about it, but what we’ve found was that people didn’t know how to calculate the cost of customer acquisition. One of the characters in the book you’ll see; he has wine and seems a little bit tipsy. That’s because he is tipsy. Entrepreneurs pathologically lose their rationality when it comes to cost of customer acquisition; how much does it cost for me to acquire a new customer? They just think “oh, if I build it, they will come.” That’s not how it works.
There’s a whole process that customers have to go through to buy a product and entrepreneurs need to understand that process and understand whether the sales cycle is three weeks, three months, six months, nine months, a year and a half because that very data right there could absolutely kill a company. If your sales cycle is a year and a half it’s very, very hard, but if it is a year and a half it might be possible. You need to know that and not think that it’s three months. Then you need to make sure that your lifetime value of the customer is very, very high to support such a high cost of customer acquisition.
This podcast I have shared with a few of the companies that I am working with. In fact, I use the process to lay out the starting Kanban Board to work with startup type clients. My Trello Board is below.
P.S. The Boards never look this clean when they are being used.
Bill Aulet is the managing director in the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship at MIT and also a senior lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management. The center is responsible for entrepreneurship across all five schools at MIT starting with education but also extending well outside the class room with student clubs, conferences, competitions, networking events, awards, hackathons, student trips and most recently accelerators.
The story of Austin’s Butterfly with Ron Berger is one of the best lessons I have seen for continuous improvement. It applies the principles of iterations, collaboration, and feedback. Austin was able to improve the last effort dramatically and, as a result, did not even have to Pivot. The insights by the participants and their feedback about the process is absolutely spot on. I would challenge any facilitator to capture his audience as well.
I ran across this video in a tweet: from Marc Stickdorn @MrStickdorn
We are all familiar with the thought of Outside the Box thinking and brainstorming. Methods that surprisingly are not all that productive. However, the alternative is something called TRIZ which to a sales and marketing guy, like me, seems way over complicated. A nice diagram and a simplified explanation of the process are contained in the book, Trizics: Teach yourself TRIZ, how to invent, innovate and solve “impossible” technical problems systematically. The Kindle book is a steal at $9.99, and the charts are just fine in the Kindle version.
Several years back (10 or more), I ran across a simplified version of TRIZ designed by Dr. Roni Horowitz that he called Advanced Systematic Inventive Thinking. You can find more information about the program at start2think.com (it is a somewhat outdated website). I have used this thinking and along with SCAMPER, a more simplified approach, for many years. It has proven to be very useful. The basis of the program is thinking inside the box versus outside the box.
This week, I happen to be listening to a new book, Inside the Box: A Proven System of Creativity for Breakthrough Results, that is based on some of Dr. Horowitz work and others. After listening to the first chapter, I dug out my old mind map on ASIT and started reviewing. I think it will add quite a bit of depth to the audio. Not that I am selling books this week, but you can purchase the audio book for $4.49, which again is a steal. However, as I have listened to the book, I am not sure what I am missing by not having the hard copy. The resource page for the book is excellent.
My mind map from the Dr. Horowitz’s course:
P.S. If you are unfamiliar with SCAMPER a blog post you can reference: Tips to Starting a Cost Reduction Plan