What Customers Will Want: The How-To of identifying the future of customers needs and wants by Greg Yezersky, Oakland University

Live note-taking of the November 10, 2016 webinar. Any errors are my own.

  • Average company lifespan on S&P was 65 years 50 years ago. Now, projections say it is about 18 years.
  • 86% of original fortune 500 companies are gone; of fortune 100, 43% are gone
  • Permanently excellent companies and industries do not exist
  • Challenge: what is the root cause of success
  • Research, concept, design, production, sales, all of this takes time. What people wanted before, they might not want anymore. We need to know what people will want in the future. We don’t have a crystal ball.
  • Traditional approach is to follow trends, square shoulders and holes in jeans leads to new fashion trends so we adjust are machines for those, and then the trend goes away
  • People don’t know what they will want in the future
  • Don’t identify the right problem, identify the wrong problem. For example, a fish isn’t trying to escape the fishbowl, it’s aiming for a bigger fishbowl
  • Purple ketchup and blue Pepsi were mistakes
  • Innovation is gambling and much riskier, you win 50% of the time by gambling on red or on black
  • Is the future knowable, it is not predictable, how do you know what will happen if you drop an egg off the roof… you predict it will break because you have a theory of gravity, science, you even know how fast it will fall
  • Is there a science of innovation, what people will want, what innovations will succeed
  • Need a theory that works in any market, any application, with significant risk reduction
  • 90% of theories focus on the brain of the inventor, or you can look at evolution of systems, a sequence of steps, from phonograph to record to tape to disk to mp3
  • evolution has order, it’s not purely random
  • evolutionary forecasting needs – evolution is not random, set of natural laws
  • evolution forecasting of the lawnmower – customer experience matters, forecasting is identify future problems and solve the problem, how do you ID the problem?
  • How do you avoid wasting time by needing more oil, needing to sharpen blades, needing to try to start it 50 times, how to avoid me walking the machine over the lawn (robot mower)
  • [more content in webinar but I had to leave]


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