Setting the Stage:
Bobcat EMEA had been aware of Value Innovations Inc.’s Value Innovation Process and Dick Lee’s and the Vi team‘s work for some time. We used Blue Ocean methodology several years ago across our management and product development teams. However leadership changes and restructuring meant that we had a very fragmented approach to voice of customer, market research and product development inputs. We recently consolidated of our Bobcat EMEA business within one “world class facility” outside Prague (see below)
This allowed us to look over the various innovation methods and tools we had in use and start to utilize more common and repeatable processes. Although we were already using value curves with metrics, we found our most often used methods of gaining customer insights;
- Traditional customer visits,
- Voice of the customer and
- Focus groups,
were time consuming and heavily biased when translating the inputs for internal use.
Value Innovation Process is a registered trademark of Value Innovations, Inc.
Selecting Value Innovation Process:
As our leadership team looked at the development of our new innovation center, they looked at various methodologies to provide:
- A consistent approach,
- Provide quality inputs and
- Be understood well by the different functions engaged in new product and services development.
The 10-Step Value Innovation Process (VIP) described in Value Innovation Works was seen as meeting these requirements.
Following a 2-Day training workshop with a mix of different functional areas we ran a pilot project to determine its effectiveness and the value delivered. We had two project champions, our VP Engineering and one of our BU Directors. John Chattaway, Innovation Leader, lead a 5-person team with members from sales, product development and product management.
Value Innovation Process: Pilot Results
As with every idea or process change, some time is needed to bring the skeptics on board and really understand how the process can be used within the different regions and cultures that we serve.
We first tested some of the VIP tools almost by accident while running some research in the Middle East, finding ourselves needing to identify the “most important customer (MIC)” in the Value Chain and use the contextual interviewing process and skills. We found the use of attributes in nested Value Curves (e.g., bringing definition to what Performance means) showed how we could add value to one of our recent product introductions. The result was a very focused project start up, all in the space of three to four months. Something that we had not achieved before.
Focused on our UK market, it allowed us to evaluate the full VIP. As Dick Lee warned us, we faced some difficulties recruiting MICs for the first round contextual interviews but we stuck with it.
The VIP, with Dick Lee’s expert support, has shown us that it fits very well with our business and needs. The focus provided by:
- Identifying the MIC in the Value Chain
- Using 6 open-ended questions to uncover their unmet needs in two contextual interviews,
generated a set of key, consistent insights.
The use of the recorded, transcribed phone interviews to both validate and generate the key components/contents of Value Curves is very powerful:
- It eliminates travel and
- Is convenient to all participants in the interview process.
It still needs focused translation skills at the team level to get the most out of the data. The critique of attributes (Elements of Performance), their order of importance and value delivered in the Value Curve (See example for the Tesla S Sedan compared to the BMW 7 Series below)
by the MICs met our need to have quality customer feedback that can be used (and defended) across the development project’s life. We can confidently say, that if you follow the 10-Step VIP and its enabling tools, you will know what is required to deliver exceptional value to your MICs. It provides powerful and usable output for your new product and service projects with minimum resources.Want to up your innovation game? Want to up your organization’s innovation game? Attending one of our Mastering Value Innovation Workshops is a great place to start. In 2016 we are going to change our approach. We will work with you to develop your own custom workshop that addresses your problems and you define the length and location. More information can be found in the Workshop Brochure.