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What Customers Want: Using Outcome-Driven Innovation to Create Breakthrough Products and Services Hardcover – August 16, 2005

ISBN-13: 978-0071408677 ISBN-10: 0071408673 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill; 1 edition (August 16, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071408673
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071408677
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #50,917 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

From the Back Cover

"Ulwick's outcome-driven programs bring discipline and predictability to the often random process of innovation."
--Clayton Christensen, author of The Innovator's Solution

"We are institutionalizing across the entire company desired outcomes as the essential form of customer input we collect in research, and we've seen the powerful results it's had in our product development, marketing, and sales groups."
--Jeff Baker, Senior Market Research Manager, Corporate Market Research, Microsoft

"Outcome-driven thinking made it possible for us to hit a home run in the mature and competitive circular saw market. The Bosch CS20 is a breakthrough innovation and a hit with both users and our channel partners."
--Jason Schickerling, Product Manager, Bosch CS20

"Being outcome-driven enabled us to grow our market share in the angioplasty balloon market from less than 1 percent to over 20 percent and to create the stent, which became a billion-dollar business in less than two years."
--Rick Faleschini, Vice President of Marketing, Johnson & Johnson

"This approach enabled us to devise breakthrough Web-based service solutions and to make valued operational process changes. Knowing where to focus our creativity made all the difference in the world."
--Paul Zarookian, Executive Vice President, Financing Division, A. I. Imperial

"This methodology was used to create the PRO7150 and the TalkAbout--two of our best-selling radio products to date. It was also used to build a valuable patent portfolio in the fuel cell market without making a large investment in technology."
--Dr. Robert Pennisi, Director, Advanced Product Technology Center, Motorola

About the Author

Anthony Ulwick is the CEO of Strategyn, a pioneer and world leader in outcome-driven innovation. Since 1991 he has served as a consultant to Johnson & Johnson, Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, AIG, Chiquita Brands, and dozens of other leading corporations. Mr. Ulwick's innovation practices were recognized by the editors of the Harvard Business Review as some of the best business ideas of 2002.


More About the Author

As an innovation thought leader, inventor, author and speaker, Tony Ulwick has changed the way the world's leading companies innovate.

Tony is the pioneer of jobs-to-be-done theory and the inventor of Outcome-Driven Innovation® (ODI), a powerful innovation process with a documented success rate that is 5-times the industry average. Tony has been awarded 10 patents for his game-changing innovation practices.

Tony began his career with IBM's PC division in 1981. Witnessing the failure of the PCjr, Tony was inspired to develop a better approach to innovation. Since founding the innovation consultancy Strategyn in 1991, he and his global team of ODI practitioners have worked with over one-third of the Fortune 100, helping them generate billions of dollars in revenue growth.

After introducing ODI to Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen, Clayton devoted a chapter in his 2002 book The Innovator's Solution to Tony's "jobs-to-be-done" innovation theory, citing Tony's work. That same year Tony introduced Harvard Business Review readers to ODI in the article Turn Customer Input into Innovation and HBR recognized ODI as one of the best business ideas of the year, declaring it one of "the ideas that will profoundly affect business as we forge ahead in today's complex times."

Tony is also the author of the best selling book What Customers Want (McGraw Hill) and additional articles published in HBR and MIT Sloan Management Review. His work is cited in hundreds of publications.

Today, Tony is Strategyn's CEO and an active innovation advisor to dozens of the world's leading firms. His counterintuitive views as an innovation thought leader have changed the way academics and executives alike think about growth, strategy, and innovation.

To contact Tony for a consulting or speaking engagement, please visit: www.strategyn.com.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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All in all, an excellent book...highly recommended to anyone working in an innovation and development setting.
Mike Tamayo
If you're serious about creating something new and innovative, then you need to study this book to learn how to find out what customers really want.
Michael Davis
Rarely does a book offer such new insight and theory along with practical ideas for execution and implementation.
Mitchell Auran

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Mitchell Auran on July 10, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have read several new books on innovation and I finally understand why Clayton Christensen referenced the work of Tony Ulwick frequently in his book the Innovator's Solution. Although at first blush, Ulwick's thinking could be cast aside as common sense, this book has made me realize that there is a brilliant, new way to think about innovation.

Let me try to explain how Ulwick frames his thinking. Generally speaking, innovation is the process of finding solutions that address the customer's unmet needs. Most companies agree that they should first uncover and prioritize the customer's unmet needs and then devise solutions that address them - but, as Ulwick explains very well, although companies think they understand this concept, they continue to get it so very wrong - to the point where their customer-driven, "voice of the customer" led efforts are causing the failures they are trying to avoid!

This book makes it clear that because companies are focused on customers and products (and not the job the customer is trying to get done), they are simply getting the wrong inputs into innovation, and incredibly, they don't know it. In my experience, this is exactly right. Ulwick contends that to truly succeed at innovation companies must understand just what a customer "need" is. Ulwick's notion that different innovation strategies require different customer inputs (needs) was an epiphany for me.

In his books and articles on innovation, Clayton Christensen mentions the jobs-to-be-done theory, but Ulwick turns this theory into a science by making the job the customer is trying to get done - not the customer or competition - the focal point of innovation.
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38 of 42 people found the following review helpful By verogall on January 17, 2007
Format: Hardcover
If you are new to market research or product innovation, this book is practical and easy to read and I recommend it. No need to read further in my comment.

For the more experienced reader: As a businessperson, I was disappointed in this book. At first I was carried away; Ulwick is a good writer. I was so excited, I restared the book and took notes. That is when I realized that this is essentially a marketing tool for his company. Ulwich doesn't give insight into how to find the "50-150" criteria he mentions beyond saying that good marketing researchers are important. Furthermore his comments about customer-driven innovation are incorrect. While I agree with him that many companies behave as he describes, this is because, as with other business tools/concepts, customer-driven innovation is misunderstand and misused. Most of what he talks about is identical to what I tell employees during training. What I got out of this book was a handful of sentences about focusing on the job your customer needs done, the constraints and the criteria by which customers will measure your "solution".
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Michael Davis on December 22, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Question: What do people want?

Answer: To get their job done? (Whatever the job may be, such as to regain energy in their bodies, or to be entertained).

In his series on innovation, Clayton Christensen touches upon the Jobs-to-be-done theory. Ulwick dives into it by showing us that what customers really want is desired outcomes.

Customers are strange creatures. On one hand they openly say what they want and then turn around and do exactly the opposite. The reasons for this is that customers often are not able to articulate what they want - except in the form of desired outcomes.

Stop spinning your wheels. If you're serious about creating something new and innovative, then you need to study this book to learn how to find out what customers really want.

Venture Capitalists, Angels, and almost every serious investor in the world wants to see two things in every venture: 1) Customers who love the product because it satisfies a burning need, and 2) Business Models that capture a significant amount of value created.

Customers are by far the most important aspect of any successful venture, yet time and time again attention is not paid to proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that a given product gives customers what they want.

Ulwick says that "... most companies come up with ideas and solutions and then test them with customers to see if they will buy - without ever knowing how customers measure value." From my personal experience I know that Ulwick is dead on. Most entrepreneurs and business professionals understand very little about what customers truly consider value. Instead they heap on the features - hoping to shotgun their way to hitting that one aspect customers want.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Daniel J. Klotz on March 27, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Like most businesspeople, you don't need more tricks to put in your bag. You don't have time to read vague expositions on a fad. You want to know how to serve people better through better products and services.

In 'What Customers Want,' Anthony Ulwick offers a rigorous, comprehensive methodology for doing just that. The underlying principles in the book, which were introduced by Ulwick in the Harvard Business Review, each receive thorough treatment. In clear language, Ulwick explains the big picture behind his outcome-driven method. He capably explains in minute detail how to put the method to work.

As the title suggests, Ulwick's outcome-driven method is as much about marketing as it is about innovation proper. Yes, it is about research and development, but it is also about branding. It may just be that the ultimate brand message follows a simple pattern: "We offer you exactly what you want--in fact what you can't do without--with no superfluous bells and whistles, for a very reasonable price." This book shows you how to arrive at a point where you and your company can confidently make such a statement.

The outcome-driven approach to innovation rests on common-sense tenets that have been supported by fairly rigorous research. These principles include:

-Customers have a hard time articulating what it is they want. With skilled guidance, however, they are very good articulating what they want to get done.

-As humans, we can't help but measure how successfully we were able to complete a task, even mundane ones like shaving or cutting a board. We unconsciously do this measuring using between 50 and 150 different criteria. These criteria are the "outcomes" we want to result from the task.
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