A time of change
We live in a time characterized by change. Digitization, globalization, new technology & changing customer behaviors make it more difficult for many organizations to develop and compete with products and services that meet actual customer needs. Putting the customer at the center and creating an adaptable and swift organization becomes a must for survival. This ability is often called Business Agility, and Customer-Centric Product Development is an essential part of long-term success.
According to the World Economic Forum, we are just beginning the fourth industrial revolution. This technological revolution is characterized by product development with ever-increasing technical complexity and speed of development and a pace that, unlike previous revolutions, is increasing exponentially.
Due to these new challenges and the impact of the current pandemic, many organizations need to find new ways of conducting product and service development. This change is still in its infancy, and the rate of change will, in all probability, remain high.
Effective product and service development in an uncertain environment mean that organizations must adopt and apply new working methods and forms of governance (e.g., financing, planning, follow-up, leadership, and more). Forms of control and working methods that have previously given us a sense of control and security need to be adapted to enable and not hinder the ability to adapt quickly.
Innovation with the customer at the center
Adaptability without direction is not worth much. A customer-centric organization puts the customer in focus for everything they do and uses customer data to understand in which direction the change should take place. We call this customer-centric product development.
A common obstacle to customer-centric product development in many organizations is that they are divided into different functional areas with separate responsibilities and capabilities. Common is, for example, a division into a business and IT part.
To survive in today’s digital and complex world, business, IT (Tech), and areas focusing on customer experience and design must be integrated and collaborative on an entirely different level to generate value for customers and businesses.
A guide to Customer-Centric Product Development
An organization must ask itself the questions:
- Do we build products/services that meet customers’ real needs (Desirable)?
- Do we have the knowledge and abilities to make these products/services (Feasible)?
- Are these products/services long-term sustainable and profitable (Viable)?
The ability to adapt quickly requires an organization that constantly strives for and spends time on improvement. Adaption in most organizations is a paradigm shift that takes a long time, and it is a change for everyone in the organization, not at least leaders.
Change requires knowledge of working methods, processes, forms of governance, and how these must interact to achieve the desired effects and contribute to a cultural shift. Furthermore, organizations must adopt new technology and ways of using it (which requires investment in time and knowledge). At last, a Customer-Centric is boosting the Product Development with focus and meaning.
It is often said that structure breeds culture, and it is a matter of using structure consciously so that it contributes to laying the foundation for the “right” culture. Changing an organization also requires experience of change work, and sustainable change requires that the entire organization is on the journey and contributes.
Do you want to know more?
Together with Zington Consulting, BDD has a great breadth of knowledge and long practical experience of helping organizations in their journey of change towards Business Agility where technology, business, and design interact. We stand firm on Lean-Agila principles as a basis for our guidance. Our primary focus is always on customer needs and creating value for them.
Contact us if you are curious to learn more about our services and how we can help your organization develop a more customer-centric and efficient product development.