Why customers are dangerous Nintendo's databases contain information for more than 1 million users but when it comes to deigning a video game, it never listens to its customers. The reason behind this attitude is that it is becoming clear that current customers may be the wrong people to talk to about the designing of innovative or futuristic products. Thus customers may: Not able to tell us what they want. Tell us one thing and behave in totally contradictory manner. Not know how they will behave if a certain series of cues are provided or they provide answers which are more about creating acceptance with their peers than providing accurate information. Not be deliberately mislead but what they say and what they do often have two distinctly different outcomes.
Not be able to identify what to change on a product despite the fact that they know what they do not like about it. As Von Hippel suggests: "The mistake of staying to close to the customers will result to a very slow incremental product improvements, missed opportunities for dramatic product improvement and eventually obsolescence as new technologies take over" Martin (1995) believes that customers will often tell you what they would like to do and not what they actually do. Developing a product How Product development in a mature, continually operating business is an interminable, cyclic activity. Each finished new product provides in turn the basis for the next sequence of product development.
A product development project includes several aspects of research, operations planning, and product design, and it is intimately controlled by the management of the enterprise. It usually includes the following operations: Research Developing the product concept Developing the product and the production process Final preparation of the design and the production process Regular production This dissertation is focussed on the second part of the product development; developing the product concept. Designing what people desire- A demanding and problematic task Von Hippel (1998) suggests that there is a lack of ability to facilitate perfect transfer of knowledge or skills between customer and designer. The designer has strong design skills but weak knowledge of the customer needs Furthermore, customers and designers will each have unique languages when talking about the same product. The typical buyer of a new personal computer can not communicate in the language of the computer scientist regarding memory space and processor speed. Similarly the computer scientist has difficulty using customer language.
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