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Is VOC killing innovation?

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  • #32101

    JD
    Participant

    Hi, I’m a scientist in a research lab for the ink/paint industry, and am lucky to work in a place that fosters creativity and innovation. Because of the all-out six sigma conversion taking place in the company, I can see how more and more Research projects will get selected and started using the DFSS approach, and especially Voice of the Customer.
    I have this lingering fear that VOC could potentially kill innovation because it won’t let you be more creative than your customers.
    I would like to have your thoughts on this. How to combine innovation in research and VOC?
    Thanks
    JD

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    #85315

    Gutierrez
    Participant

    No way, VOC must help you to understand the needs of your customers, you are not going to invent a need for your customer only because you are to creative.
    Once you have understood what you customer requires, you use your  innovation process to find the more creative solution that satisfy your customer in the best way.
    What it is possible is that your customer had not identified some need, and then you could have a restricted answer, but inclusive in this case, you have to be very creative to understand what your customer have not identified.
    VOC never substitutes Creativity and Innovation, Instead, Creativity and Innovation are used to give answers to VOC.

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    #85330

    Anonymous
    Participant

    JD
    Necessity is the mother of inventions, VOC will help in more innovative DFSS approach and will be of great value to the business

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    #85410

    Ashman
    Member

    You should also consider it from a  Kano perspective (see, for example, https://www.isixsigma.com/forum/showmessage.asp?messageID=15809).  The innovation comes in from the “Delighter” portion of the model.  These are things that the customers may not know they need, but they sure are happy when they see it (the WOW! factor).  I think this is where the true innovation is, but you still must keep to the caveat that it must be something that the customer wants/needs and is willing to pay for.

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    #85417

    Mani P. Sam
    Participant

    VoC does not kill innovation but it helps in bringing about  clear focuss in your directing your resources. First of all why organizations of any kind exist? It is only to meet the aspirations and requirements of their Customers and hence VoC is the logical means for staying on course.

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    #85418

    Ramesh Raghavan
    Participant

    Dear JD,
    I somehow seem to agree with you.  You must let the creativity brew in internal audience.  I read in one of the journal that Customer is last, what it means to say is if you keep your internal customers happy (your own colleague).  By taking VOC you hit the creativity right at the bud as we orient ourselves towards what the customer wants. 
    In your case you would want the scientists to come up plans / ideas and then you would want to map it to the VOC.  This will get a blend of both.  You should never let an idea go unrecorded.  It’s a good practice to have all ideas recorded into some kind of database which will be of much use when you are looking for a solution for some other problem.
    Hope this answers your question.
    Rgds / Ramesh Raghavan.

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    #85419

    P.Deepak
    Participant

    Six Sigma process ensures that we meet our customer needs profitably and VOC is the best way of understanding what the customers want. Being innovative is good, but if the customer is not ready to pay for it, it doesnot mean anything for a business. 
    Innovation may delight the customer but only when his most essential needs are met and a good VOC process ensures that we do the right things.

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    #85420

    Vedu Mitter,MBB
    Member

    One might perhaps distiguish between what one might call invention as against innovation.Inventions of the James Watt or Graham bell type do not begin with VOC,however the individual inventor herein tries to solve a problem which interests him. When we apply Six Sigma one must remember that there is already a business idea and the aim is to excel in the market, which means VOC is a must to find opportunities to excel,that is,identify ‘delighters’ or optimize expected results.VOC is the first step to ensure business viability and also to prioritize between possible projects.

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    #85421

    Manikanda Mariappan S
    Participant

    Hi JD,
    VOC is for capturing the requirements of a product which the customer thinks as the minimum wants. This will help u in streamlining your thoughts to think in that direction and will not kill your creativity. You can be innovative in the following ways after capturing the VOC,
    1. Innovative ways of achieving the specified wants of the customer compared to the existing products in the market.
    2. Innovative extra features in the product which the customer didn’t even dream of, apart from all the features the customer needs, to bring out a product that can create waves in the market (customer WOW) and be a ‘Game Changer’ for the company’s business.
    To achieve the above said things you need lots of research and ‘out of the box’ thinking.
    So I can assure you that by doing VOC you can be more innovative and your product will be more successful in the market as you will get a direction to think, a direction in which you need to be innovative.
    Manikanda Mariappan S.

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    #85422

    Krishnaswamy.V
    Participant

    Hi JD
                VOC is what the customer wants in particular product(necessary things what the customer wants), which will make prevent you rom missing while manufacturing the same.
    Creativity is the one by which you can exceed your customer’s expectations.

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    #85424

    Anand Jha
    Participant

     Dear JD,
    VOC is used to capture customers stated need (and also hidden need) where as innovation part is covered by KANO model. Where you want to differentiate yourself from competitor and Make customers feel WOH! (Here an example, earlier we did not had ABS (Anti braking system) in all automobiles as basic features, but when these were offered as basic they felt Delighted. But after some time it becomes basic need and customer’s start thinking that this is must. – Now it again our job to make customer delight by providing some INNOVATIVE goods to have WOH!
    Basic need: is something, which won’t make customer happy, but absence of these will annoy.
    WOH! : You will get only when you provide something new (which customer have not thought off)

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    #85425

    mand
    Member

    Hi JD & Mr JHA
    VOC vs INNOVATION.
    Rightly said JHA that the cust – delight is required ( true) that can be done by simply a thought as said by Jha. Ok BUT innovation is something that is not dependent on VOC entirely.Yes INN can use the air of VOC but even if the air =VOC is not there even then the bird of INN has to use its own strenght / thought of its own / use its own wings to float in the entire sky. As there is no limit for INN ( conceptually)
    Yet if there is a requirement of a particular direction / assignment based iINN then there we ve to consider the VOC as its is very  very imp for a product ofr services being generated.

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    #85428

    S.Srinivas
    Member

    I think we need to make a distinction between innovation and invention.
    VOC is a very important input for working on innovations as this helps in aligning the resources in the right direction.
    Inventions like the walkman could depend on the perceived needs which may not be stated explicitely by customers as they are not yet aware that such a thing would be possible.

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    #85431

    KR
    Participant

    JD,
    There is no sense in trying to innovate and be completely creative, IF you do not have the abilities to control and monitor the CTQ’s and CTP’s. You can make the most creative product, but if your FPY the manufacturing process is low, you may not be very successful financially. The VOC helps out here, it will tell you that you may need to invest in new processes too make the product and it will also tell you what variables to control to “delight” the customer.
    KR

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    #85433

    David Swaddling
    Participant

    VOC is the driver of innovation, not the killer.  Any confusion is over the meaning of VOC.  Unfortunately, a conventional view of VOC is finding out what the potential customer wants.  That doesn’t work because, as you say, that limits the supplier to the customer’s level of creativity.  Savvy implementation of DFSS defines VOC as identifying and understanding customer needs.  The solution to those needs is the seller’s responsibility.  The most creative solution wins the business – so innovation remains the basis of competitive advantage.  

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    #85435

    L Hammond
    Participant

    VOC, like most any process, can be overdone.  It is meant to be a guide, not the Gospel.  Business cannot survive if it is merely reactive. We don’t lead consumers by the nose nor do they lead us by our noses.  We need innovators like yourself to bring ideas to the front, ideas that no one ever considered before or ideas that improve on products and processes we already use.  VOC keeps customers, not merely their money, in the mix.  We need that balance, that partnership with our customers to inspire us and to keep us moving forward.
    By the way, do you think you can combine your clever brain cells and creative juices to come up with a paint that puts itself on my walls or an ink that will correct my spelling?  Too much?  Not in this lifetime?  Well, I am a customer and it is what I want…
    Keep being creative!   
    L Hammond

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    #85436

    Robert Butler
    Participant

    I would have to agree with SAM concerning equating VOC with innovation and I would also have to insist that VOC has been a driver of many inventions.
    James Watt – the Newcomen engine was a standard fixture at the mines and Watt first became aware of the engine and its drawbacks when he repaired a model of the engine.  At that time there were lots of people who were interested in improving the Newcomen engine and high on the list of improvements was the need to reduce its fuel consumption.  Watt realized that the engine was wasting tons of fuel with a constant (and un-needed) cooling and reheating of the cylinder.  The impact of VOC in this instance is quite clear.
    Bell – His case is different in the sense that while he was focused on the VOC (the need for improvements in the multiple telegraph) his understanding of the process, coupled with his interest in developing mechanical devices to permit deaf people to understand the spoken word, put him in the position of being able to go well beyond the more limited and immediate needs of telegraphic systems.
      Edison – Menlo Park was a prime example of using VOC to drive innovation and invention.  Edison’s approach to invention and innovation was very straight forward.  Find out what the customer wants, generate  ideas that may satisfy those wants, put a proposal together, get financial backing, and then and only then, go out and invent the thing. 
      The main point of all of this is that method and reason do not stifle creativity.  There are many people who views of creativity can best be summed up as dabbling and drifting.  Back in 1910 A.G. Webster had the following to say about that view:  “In matters of scientific investigation the method that should be employed is think, plan, calculate, experiment, and first, last, and foremost, think.  The method that is most often employed is wonder, guess, putter, guess again, and above all avoid calculation.”

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    #85438

    Michael Webb
    Participant

    I also believe there is something missing in the way VOC is typically implemented. – Often, marketing and sales seem to play only a minor role in VOC efforts. Why? – VOC seems to produce only lists of physical or functional requirements. Is that all we should be concerned with? Businesses are comprised of people who are affected in vastly different ways by a given product or service. For example: A maintenance engineer may need easy programming of a new machine control system, but the production manager needs more production yield without dipping into the capital budget. Hearing these other voices extends VOC’s influence into how we find, gain, and keep customers. Should it really be a surprise that products don’t sell when these issues are ignored? Here is another perspective on this same issue: In their new book, “The Sales and Marketing Excellence Challenge,” Jim Dickie and Barry Trailer quote Jeffery Schaper, General Electric’s Chief Commercial Officer: “Over the past decade, the role of sales has clearly been shifting to solution selling vs transactional selling, … Achieving this goal requires a major mindset change on the part of companies, because for decades we have delivered products to the sales force, instead of solutions.” The way VOC is typically construed is part of this problem. Ask yourself what is meant by “solutions” instead of “products?” Then consider these questions: – How clear is your company’s value proposition (to your customers)? This requires insight on how various customer departments are affected.- How effective is your sales force at helping customers understand your value proposition? This involves how products are combined with services and positioned to the customer Both of these questions are fundamental to offering solutions instead of products. This is a great place to begin an improvement effort, because the value proposition is one of the linkages between marketing and selling. It goes to the heart of getting business and helping salespeople sell. It creates competitive advantage because the answers to these questions drives insights most companies do not have. These kinds of issues have NOT been addressed by any VOC efforts I have ever seen (although admittedly I am not an expert on VOC.) They do, however, support the issue of how we innovate in such a way that customers will actually buy our stuff!Michael J. WebbSales Performance Consultants, Inc. [email protected]

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    #85448

    Andy Brody
    Participant

    I work at a 150 year old paint company (the oldest in the south).  A company can’t stay in business like that without listening to the VOC.   We are a custom coatings developer with no “off the shelf” items.  All of our products are geared to the OEM manufacturer.  Because they feed into some facet of the automotive market their voice to us is “meet these specs. cheaper with more consistent performance and we want to see you around on a regular basis to help take care of our process”. 
    The innovation for us comes in developing creative ways to respond to the VOC so that we can out-perform our competitors.  We have no room for the type of innovation that creates a “better” product but doesn’t meet the VOC is useless, a waste of resources and serves only to massage someones ego.  Maybe a bit harsh, but we have to be practical.
     

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    #85449

    Reinaldo Ramirez
    Participant

    A Dr. Deming’s quitation:
    ” A consumer can seldom say today what new product or new service would be desirable would be desirable and useful to him three years from now, or a decade from now. New product an new types of services are generated, NOT BY ASKING THE CONSUMER, but by knowledge, imagination, innovation, risk, trial and error on the pert of the producer, backed by enough capital to develop product or service, and to stay in business during the lean months of introduction”.
    The key issues are INNOVATION AND KNOWLEDGE more than the VOC.

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    #85450

    Ashman
    Member

    JD–Is there an underlying frustration in your question?  Is your management not fostering the ‘big win’ mentality, where you can blow the VOC out of the water, and instead focusing on addressing the VOC as the end all, rather than the beginning as it should be?

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    #85451

    JD
    Participant

    Steve, I’m not sure I understand your question. What is the ‘big win’ mentality? What do you mean by ‘blow the VOC out of the water’?

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    #85462

    J Andell
    Participant

    VOC enables the producer to prioritize the customer’s needs, and to cope with tradeoffs in existing products and services. That neither encourages nor discourages innovation in and of itself. That simply configures existing offerings to maximize the benefit.
     
    If that is as far as you go with VOC, then there is no opportunity for innovation.
     
    However, the best VOC efforts consider features in ontext with what OUTCOMES the customers ultimately want. Couple that with the right creativity tools, and you have an environment ripe for high-power innovation.
     
    Once again, it all boils down to how VOC is managed, rather than the technicalities or the methods.

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    #85464

    Manoj Bhardwaj
    Participant

    Oh my my!The fact that you are thinking beyond VOC may mean that either your customers are not finding good alternates to your products or you are not able to meet their needs/delight.
    You definitely may be in the third category needing to develope beyond your customers/markets current needs visualised as on date.
    Go ahead and breakthrough your current status.
    Manoj Bhardwaj

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    #85468

    Michael Webb
    Participant

    J Andel;
     
    > it all boils down to how VOC is managed
    I have to agree.  
    But I would add that the way the product is marketed and sold should be included in the development effort, and it usually isn’t.
    I have seen too many failures that were not a result of the product development, but due to lack of attention to the requirements for marketing and selling them.
    Companies waste millions of dollars again and again because they assume new kinds of products will be successful through same the old market channels and methods they have always used.
    Instead, somebody should be out there in the field validating that the marketing and sales process is appropriate for the product, and establishing process capability as a means of supporting the market demand instead of making decisions that do not rely on data.
    Don’t you agree?
    Michael J. Webb
    Sales Performance Consultants, Inc.
     

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    #85473

    CTK
    Participant

    There is nothing wrong with being more creative than the customer as long as your creative energy is focused on the customer’s needs. 
    If you truly know and understand your customer(s) needs for a product including critical quality characteristics, fitness for use, and functional needs , then be as creative and you can be, otherwise you may be creating your own demise.  Uniquely inspired inventions and creatively refined products that did not meet market needs or flow with the shifts in the market place litter business history.  
    For example, the early development of the PC and PC software are prime examples of inspired and unbelieveable pieces of work that died because they did not meet the customers needs.  The Osborne, the Commodore 64, Atari, Apple’s own LISA, to name a few. Enable OA, a DOS based integrated suite that on a 386 with 128K rivals MS Office capabilities, was stopped dead cold because it did not shift out of a DOS environment with 640k of RAM. Creative programming code – yes. Did it meet customer needs – for a short few years. 
    Reading and intrepreting your customer’s response signals in the market are just as inportant as reading and correctly intrepreting a control chart.  Responding to a false customer signal can be just as fatal as ignoring a true customer signal. 
    Listing to VOC is just like any other process, it has variation and your challenge is to distinguish. signal from noise. 
     
     

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    #85476

    Wasim danish
    Member

    I think VOC force to do R&D, however it depends, are we talking about current customer needs, future customer needs, or are we in the right markets?
     
     

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    #85478

    ALEK DE
    Participant

    Absolutely not. See , creativity / innovativeness are subsequent to your capturing VOC & you need to have these  in your process of applying DFSS. Look , once VOC is captured , your CTQ’s are identified. Now you are to define Initial Solution. While doing this you select a hybrid concept as solution ( either Pugh concept or TRIZ ). Converting CTQ’s with no options in in design or too less options in design can not make a good design. Out of numerous concepts you need to pick up / hybrid one concept which best drives the CTQ’s. Here your creativity / innovation is only tool. Mind that our creativity / innovations are best utilized when they drive a Customer need but not something un necessary to Customer.
    Regards
    ALEK DE

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    #85488

    Gaurav
    Participant

    Hi,
            For whom are we creating product’s for the customer ,innovation comes in only when there is a need ,remember SIPOC.
     
    Gaurav

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    #85491

    TP
    Member

    Dear JD,
    I am a mechanical engineer who’s applied DFSS in the design and development of gas turbines (low/medium duty).  I can understand your concern for creativity and innovation if we were to limit these to the Customer’s vision.
    However, I would look at it from a different perspective to realize than in fact VOC does not imply limited innovation.
    First of all, from a personal point of view and sentiments, as an engineer I find it very challenging designing by constraints.  While most people find this to limit creativity, I believe that it requires a particular ability to find “unusual” non-standard solutions under the most challenging conditions.  If this is not the best example of creativity I do not know what is !
    Secondly, one often realizes that the Customer does not always know what it needed/wanted until someone makes evident the need.  If you design and develop around the Customer’s “top” CTQ’s (i.e. the very general, high-level requirements/needs) you still have the freedom to introduce innovative solutions that the Customer might have not even considered as an alternative to the more obvious ones.  Of course, the more detailed and specific is the the Customer’s CTQ, the more limited will be the innovation.  But the point is that you can always begin at the top level (the very basic and “primtive” need) to then let your creativity lead to a new solution.
    …these are just my thoughts on the subject.
    Regards,
    TP

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    #85499

    Dennis
    Participant

    JD, 
    Adopting two slightly different perspectives might be helpful in resolving your concern.   The first is that more information is helpful, almost never harmful or a threat.  Surely knowing our customers point of view, problems, needs, and opportunities, provides potentially valueable information.  That we must be reasonable and rational in responding seems obvious and insufficient reason to avoid acquiring the customers perspective.
    The second is to see that business success requires or is best served by both concentration (driving out imperfections) and expansion (filling voids or creating space).  Knowing our customers business (needs, problems, opportunities) is the real purpose of VOC.  Determining how our technological competencies can be used to improve our current offerings and how innovation might open new space or fill voids provides ample room for creativity.
    “D”

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    #85505

    Ashman
    Member

    JD—Sorry for using slang and vernacular. 
    What I’m really asking is does your management not encourage breakthrough thinking in product development, i.e. do they take a literal view of what the customers say and not allow you to go several steps beyond what the customers are saying?
    Steve

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    #85507

    JD
    Participant

    Steve, not at all. My management strongly encourages out of the box ideas and going several steps beyond the customer is saying.
    I’ve come to understand after this discussion that the creativity restrictions that may be related to VOC come through a reduced breadth of the questions you ask, not the fact that you ask the questions. The more specific the VOC, the more restrictive the innovation.
    JD

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    #85508

    JD
    Participant

    Dear TP, after reviewing all the posted messages (thank you all for your thoughts), I think your contribution wraps things up pretty good:
    The breath of the VOC drives the breath of the innovation, and the right level of constraints will force higher creativity to come-up with solutions.
    I guess the key is to be able to tune the scope of the VOC to allow the box to be just large enough (go beyond “wants” to “needs” to “dreams”) to allow great freedom of ideas, but narrow enough to force people to be more creative in coming-up with truly innovative solutions.
    Only too narrowly defined VOC would kill innovation.
    As far as a paint that throws itself on walls, give us a couple more weeks…
    JD

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    #85518

    RAMESH PADMANABHAN
    Participant

    I am not sure of your statement that VOC would kill innovation.  In fact, we should first check and see whether at all, voc would be a good idea in case of innovation.  I base this on my opinion that customers are not very sure as to what to innovate.  It would be the job of the company creating a new product to explain the concept, its utilities and benefits to ensure that a market is created. 
    Any improvements to that product would then be based on the VOC.  Take the POST IT by 3M as an example.
     
     

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    #85523

    Kim Niles
    Participant

    Dear JD:
    Excellent question.  I’d like to present a different point of view than what I’ve seen posted.
    How many times have we gone into a store and bought something we didn’t know existed or that we didn’t know we needed until we saw it?  It happens now and then.  Therefore, now and then there is obviously no correlation between VOC and innovation because now and then we as customers don’t even know in advance what we want or need. 
    Simple math tells us that by removing “now and then” from all of the time that innovation occurs still leaves us with a vast majority of time when VOC does correlate to some degree.  We can then go on to show via numerous case studies published in the literature that at least a large portion of the time VOC is critical to innovation. 
    I hope that helps.
    KN – https://www.isixsigma.com/library/bio/kniles.asp

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    #85526

    Vedu Mitter MBB
    Member

    I fully agree with Robert Butler.
    An excellent clarification.

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    #85533

    NATZIC
    Participant

    Customers often express needs in terms of solution satements. If this is allowed than inovation will be optimized.  Usually ,with good questioning  solutions can be avoided and you can get to real needs. Focus on the brnrfit that the client can recieve and you will get to needs With needs you can be very creative because how te need id satisfied is up to you..

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    #85550

    Ruddy
    Participant

    I would encourage you to read “Innovator’s Dillemma” by Michael Christensen.  This book addresses some of the concerns you have.

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    #85552

    HEMANTA
    Participant

    Customer is the king and we must understand that our world revolves around the customer’s need . Creativity is very much needed to understand and work with innovative apporaches to improve VOC or ECVOC( end customer voice of customer) scores.
    If our creativity is not directed to our customer’s need then  thoughts are in a wrong direction in that case we need to shift to some other industry where such creativity can be enhanced .
    Thanks and regards,
    Hemanta Kumar Sen

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    #85573

    Chugh
    Participant

    ok the “book” cud u pls brief up as what is the crux of the book.
     

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    #93920

    Sathia
    Member

    Let me add to these rich discussions on an interesting topic.
    If the objective is to build something a customer ( one that is targeted) is willing to pay for, it is important that the finished product or service satisfies that customer. It does not matter where the innovation originates: be it from the customer or you or even any other party. You could be a customer too.
    Using the VOC is a less risky preposition as compared to innovations that do not come from the customer and had not been checked upfront with the customer . As to how far a designer wishes to push his or her own innovations would then depend on the risk appetite of the sponsors.
     
     
     

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    #93934

    MN
    Participant

    It depends,if we try to apply new generation instead of traditional concepts,in that case VOC can support Innovation.We may adopt QFD,Customer/Supplier “audits”,Data Mining ,Cusomer Scorecards…etcinstead of the old methods (surveys,focus groups,interviews…etc) ,this how we can enhance  Innovation (I suggest).   Just my humble opinion,regards.    MN  

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    #96103

    Dillon
    Participant

    Kano and the ‘delight’ aspect of that model are interesting – I think Steve is onto a good point.
    There is an improved model of understanding Product Quality perceptions and VOC as a result – see S. Silverman and R. Grover, “Forming Perceptions of Overall Product Quality in Consumer Goods: A process of quality element integration”. This is not brand new but extends Kano to look at quality attributes from 3 major pillars 1-Necessary, 2-Desirable and 3-Passive. The 3rd bucket is in the vein of ‘the customer didn’t ask for it or cognitively identify need for it’. Notably, the authors postulate that surpassing a customer’s expectation significantly on any of these 3 pillars may result in Excitement or as Oliver originated and Kano extended, ‘Delight’.
    Notably, an unsolicited attribute (eg, customer didn’t ask for it) if it fails to delight can sometimes be worse than not including at all – this is one key risk in innovating without VOC as a ‘fuzzy’ boundary.
     
    Great dialogue!

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    #102815

    Been There, Done That
    Participant

    Actually, Enable died for one reason: They listened too much to
    one customer (government/military). In fact, when the decision to
    migrate to Windows was made, several good interface ideas were
    rejected by the management in favor of one that would “insure
    easy upgrades for our important customers.” (In other words, a
    DOS interface on Windows. It was not pretty.)In this case, the employees had a much better grip on where the
    industry was going, but management refused to listen. They were
    so caught up in the process of pleasing a major customer that they
    never stopped to consider the possibility that the customer didn’t
    even know what they wanted.Which is what innovation is all about. You have to not only fill the
    needs that people express, but the needs that they don’t even
    know they have. Apple is doing a good job with that these days.What’s really funny to me is that all the discussions boil down to
    common sense, but a lot of people make money selling it. Having
    survived the Six Sigma training, as well as a raft of other
    management training “breakthroughs” over the years, I still find
    that a good dose of common sense works best.

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    #120658

    sl
    Member

    JD, This has absolutely nothing to do with your post but I am looking for some expert knowledge of how to test ink permanancy or adherence to plastic materials.  Any possibility you could help?
    I am also going through some VOC for ink quality in my field.  Struggling with how to go about asking the customer what they want so that I get the most objectionable feedback data.
    Thanks in advance.
     

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    #120667

    JD
    Participant

    About part 1 I can’t really help. I moved onto something else.
    About part 2, I recommend the posting by Doug on Thursday, 26th February 2004 in the same thread.
     
    Hope this helps

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    #150122

    Sean Phillips
    Member

    The problem with focusing on the “voice of the customer” is that your current customers may not want or desire change. To truly innovate, you must look beyond your current customers and find new types of customers with new, emerging behaviors. You can then translate these behaviors into new experiences by imagining ideal scenarios. The organizational challenge is to use your collective resouces to combine technology, product and service initiatives to create exciting offerings that people covet.
    Sean Phillips
    Director of Design Research
    Radius Product Development

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    #150124

    Chris Cegelski
    Participant

    I agree with Sean’s comments, VOC is often relegated to evolutionary ideas rather then the revolutionary which can truly grow the business by leaps and bounds giving the company sustainable competitive advantages. The problem can be systemic unless the organization and it’s people, or dedicated resources are consistently scouring for emerging opportunities or radical innovation; much of the time ideas for breakthrough opportunities lay outside the existing market. The culture of an organization plays a large part in determining success.in this area. I know of a few very successful companies that have metrics in place based on a percentage of revenues from new products/customers. What gets measured is what gets done…

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    #150126

    Adey
    Participant

    I  agree with you partly on this . If we go by this road, what happens to all the old customers and their product/ service  needs? I believe any company  is in business only because its customers are patronising it. I would rather say that we can go by the VOC of our existing customers by fine tuning their wants and needs in line with new technology.
    We can’t disregard the voice of old customers because they don’t want change, this is because in themselves they could be bringing in high financial value(value of long term customers) to the company as compared to new customers.
    It is so possible that we could also bring about an innovation that is not needed by the customers. This innovation may meet six sigma levels, but it will fail in the market if it is not what the customer wants.
     
    Adey

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    #150128

    Marc Richardson
    Participant

    Connect and Develop – P&Gs Innovation Strategy

    Published March 6th, 2006 in Business and Innovation.

    There’s a great article in this months Harvard Business Review [note: paid subscription required] titled Connect and Develop: Inside Procter & Gamble’s New Model for Innovation.
    In 2000 P&G realized that their invent-it-ourselves model couldn’t support the growth they needed. Their R&D productivity had levelled off and their innovation success rate had stalled at 35%. P&Gs stock price fell by more than 50%.
    P&G realized that their best innovations came from connecting ideas across internal businesses. Betting that external connections could yield profitable innovations P&G made it a goal to “acquire 50% of innovations from outside the company”.
    The article discusses the various ways that P&G identifies, discovers and screens potential innovations. Very smart, very interesting, and surprisingly innovative (no punn intended) for such a large company.
    What I found fascinating, however, was P&Gs assessment of the evoloving innovation landscape and their role within it:

    Important innovation is increasingly being done at small and midsize entrepreneurial companies. Even individuals are eager to license and sell their intellectual property. University and government labs have become more interested in forming industry partnerships… The internet has opened up access to talent markets throughout the world. And a few forward looking companies… are beginning to experiement with the new concept of open innovation.
    Advancing technology and falling prices start to render P&Gs innovation advantage irrelevant (size, available cash, # of researchers, etc.) and what do they do? They realize that the trend is real, and will not only continue but will continue to grow. They reassess their competitive advantage and realize that they can leverage their expertise in a number of other areas: consumer research, marketing, manufacturing, purchasing capabilities.
    Brilliant.
    They look for innovative products to license, purchase, or codevelop and then plug them into the P&G machine – helping to commercialize and then scale the innovation. Taking a lot of the costly risk out of the product development cycle, P&G is enjoying real results from C&D:
    – More than 35% of P&Gs new products have elements that came from outside the company- R&D productivity has increased by nearly 60%- Innovation success rate has more than doubled- The cost of innovation has fallen- Five years after the stock collapse the stock price has doubled
    We’ll continue to see innovation taken off the balance sheet of large companies and this is very exciting for start-ups and entrepreneurs. I’m going to explore this more in the coming weeks/months. If you have any info you can point me to, I’d appreciate it.

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    #150131

    Robert Zybeck
    Member

    If more people understood the basics of quality, threads like this wouldn’t exist.
    VOC is a term used to differentiate spec limits from control limits.  The later is the voice of the process.  Many six sigma folk with limited training, get them confused.
    VOC has nothing to do with innovation.  However, innovation may or may not, focus on customer needs.

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    #150132

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Marc,
    Some interesting comments. You might want to take a look at a website http://www.realinnovation.com. It is sort of a sister website to this site.
    Part of your comments and your article are part of the issue I have with what people discuss in regards to innovation. The innovation guru’s see inventions as something different than innovation. When you read about people in industry speaking about it they seem to use the terms interchangably.
    It will be interesting to see where this goes. There have been some R&D facilities that were the “think tank” type R&D where people invented things. Many of those were either shut down or shrunk because they were not generating things that could be or were taken to market – the definition of innovation seems to be that it needs to be taken to market.
    Just some thoughts.
    Regards

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    #150139

    Marc Richardson
    Participant

    Mike,
    I didn’t write the article. I found it at the Business and Innovation website and thought it represented an interesting point of view. When I reread it, I can see that it was poorly attributed.
    M. Richardson

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    #150141

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Marc,
    I apologize. I wasn’t very clear when I responded but I knew you didn’t write it.
    The whole issue of innovation seems to be very cloudy right from the start because there isn’t much of a clear definition of what people are speaking about. There are dividing lines between creativity, invention and innovation that the industry experts seem to recognize but the people on the periphery seem to not use the terms in the same manner. It seems to be making an difficult concept more difficult.
    The idea of open innovation makes a lot of sense to me. The idea of a bolt of lightening idea out of the blue to revolutionize an industry is a freak occurrance. Most of this stuff looks like iteration. So do I sit back and fund R&D and hammer them because they have no completely original ideas or do I have a room ful of people listening to the customer and keep moving forward. I’m banking on the iteration at least I am moving and driving a learning organization.
    Just my opinion.
    Regards

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    #157827

    Randy J McSwain
    Participant

    JD,
    I can understand your concern regarding innovation.  Innovation has become over a 38 year career a PASSION with me personally.  However, Innovation is actually positive improvements, improved value to the customer, no matter how large or small.  As I see it, 6 sigma addresses many improvements, but usually not the out of the box type improvements.  So you can focus more in the “out of the box” area, you are less likely to be challenged.  What are the out of the box areas….see Rolf Smith’s Seven Levels of Change, and especially note the challenges in levels 5-7.  These levels challenge you to come up with “What no one else is doing” and “What is it that cannot be done”……but with innovation you find a way to do it anyway.
    Don’t worry about VOC.  Embrace it.
     
    A key point to remember is, in my opinion, and from my experience, customer driven innovations are the ones most likely to succeed anyway.  Our goal should be to serve the customer
     

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