Sometimes products or even companys fail just because the products have the wrong colour or the wrong styling. But not only this, if we take a brief look at the product portfolio of a company that sells faucets, cutlery or cell-phones for instance, we will find out that there are poor dogs that hardly sell at all and stars or cash cows that sell way better than others. Why? Sometimes it is only a tiny little diffrence in the product design or styling, that makes the big diffrence in turnover.
I guess we all know, that during the early stages of product development, real customer insight can at least help to avoid future poor dogs.
(I am sorry for that clumsy and maybe anoying baby language, but I have problems to express it in less and more precise words.)
What I would like to find out now is:
- Research that is done in order to find out more about “why people buy” (what are the customers design-preferences and which of those preferences do really count within the customers decission-making process) is called: Customer research, design research or ethnograpic research?
Which of those research activities is the most holistic approach to cusomer insight?
Where do the major innovations in this research field (holistic approach) come from: Research and design firms (practice) or schools and universities (academics)?
Who develops organizational strategies to implement those research activities into the industrial design-business and -process?
Many thanks for your help.
Research that is done in order to find out more about “why people buy” (what are the customers design-preferences and which of those preferences do really count within the customers decission-making process) is called: Customer research, design research or ethnograpic research?
Lots of people have opinions about how to label different methodologies. Often those people can’t agree. I’d encouage you to not worry about it. You might learn a bit from http://www.designdirectory.com/blog/archives/design/an_introduction_to_ethnographic_research_3528.asp
If I was going to be silly, I’d say the answer to your question is “Yes!”
All right, there are many different methodologies and many tools with many names for “trying to understand customers needs and wishes”. I expected and dreaded this answer, but you are right again, worrying won’t help.
After having learned this, I would like to take a closer look at the diffrent methodologies, because I am generally interested in new ideas of how to achieve customer insight and especially interested in strategies to apply the gathered information into the industrial design process.
Therefore I already tried to find sources like dissertations or any other kind of scientific papers that are dealing with those questions. But doing so for quite a while, I am more and more convinced, that even university level industrial design institutions are a bit behind the times, and theory is - once again - in the wake of practice. What do you think? (Just in case there is anybody out there, who knows that I am wrong: I would be pleased if you would let me know.)
Now here is my new question:
- Have you - or anyone else who may read this - got any suggestions where I can find the latest papers about product- / industrial-design strategies that are based on the anticipation of future customer behaviour?
(Sorry, but it is impossible to say this without common buzzwords.)