Step 4.11

Gather, analyze and prioritize target customer requirements.

Primary findings

Secondary findings

Primary findings

Barriers

In publically-funded models patients/customers have no choice over which devices are prescribed and are dissatisfied with the options whereas free-market customers are overwhelmed by too many high and low-end options.
Case study findings
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Some AT is designed using false assumptions about users.
Case study findings
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Service providers and product developers think of AT market as persons in need of assistance not potential customers.
Case study findings
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Devices used in clinical care are particularly hard to improve incrementally based on field results because processes must be standardized, as must training. Variations in training and implementation skew user feedback.
Postmarket questionnaire results
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Devices used in clinical care are particularly hard to improve incrementally based on field results because processes must be standardized, as must training. Variations in training and implementation skew user feedback.
Postmarket questionnaire results
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Insufficiently verified knowledge and changing consumer preferences can have a negative impact on the accuracy of customer preference knowledge.
Survey of 165 Canadian manufacturing firms.
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R&D personnel sees the market study and market testing stages as considerably less important than do marketing/sales personnel.
Survey findings.
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Carriers

New technology adoption is affected by different variables: education, asset possession, risk taking attitude, and aptitude for new technology (absorptive capacity). 
Case study findings
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Organizing preferences by different elements helps to identify preferences. Categorizing prototypes by size, unity, and prototypicality design is typical or exemplar of its kind).
Controlled experiment findings
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In a hub model stakeholders can share insights and receive feedback. 
Literature review and case study.
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Educate each department about the purpose of each NPD stage along with each department’s role and responsibility in that stage. And special effort needs to be made to have R&D and top management understand the purpose and value of marketing-related stages in the new product development process.
Survey findings.
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To overcome processing problems that technically-oriented developers may have with processing written descriptions of user needs, present the information in the form of user-needs tables instead.
Case study.
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Methods

6 main steps for identifying user needs, analyzing data and making use of findings: identify stakeholder and user groups, visit users and explore their needs, describe the current situation, analyze and prioritize the problems and possibilities, redesign the current situation, and define user requirements.
Case studies.
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A Venn diagram can be used to depict similar and divergent perceptions voiced by focus group participants. Consisting of two or more overlapping circles, the Venn diagram is a useful tool to examine similarities and differences between concepts in a visual representation that shows the shared characteristics in the overlapping circles.
Literature review and synthesis.
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Combining Suh's design axiom, conjoint analysis, and quality function deployment techniques enables organizations to translate consumer needs into functional requirements, and finally, design parameters. A mixture of focus groups, surveys, and internal analysis conducted with specific market segments is likely to yield successful results.
Random sampling survey of 300 customers used to verify utility of proposed process.
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Concentrate on obtaining, interpreting and integrating customer information and the new product advantage will be stronger.
Survey. A positive relationship between a customer knowledge process and new product advantage was found to be significant at the .01 level.
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Conduct market research, business analysis, prototype development and trials to reduce uncertainty, acquire information and ultimately increase new product development success.
Literature Review.
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Firms need to efficiently manage the level of customer interaction to obtain the needed information while not impeding the NPD progress. When designers receive input on the product design from no more than 25 customers, the knowledge gained is optimized with no detrimental impact on time to market. Beyond 25 customers, the time to market performance degraded quickly and at an increasing rate as function of the number of customers involved.
Case analysis of 220 new product efforts.
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From a design perspective, a user-centered approach is necessary to ensure that a concept [for a device or service] will be useful and indeed used. However to deployed in a real environment, it is also essential that the solution can be used by everyone, including family members their carers, and doctors. Ideally, the solution should be useful to all people.
Survey and device trials involving persons with physical and/or cognitive impairments.
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Ideally, the presentation of a concept should offer a realistic description of the proposed product(s), in order to facilitate specific responses from customers. Stimulus materials, such as paper-and-pencil sketches, models, mock-ups and prototypes of the product-to-be, are recommended, in addition to verbal communication when conducting concept testing.
Literature review.
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It is important to collect and assess market and competitive information in order to understand customer needs, wants and specifications for the product; to know customers' price sensitivity; to understand customers' purchase decisions; and to learn about competitors' strategies, strengths and weaknesses.
Case studies conducted on over 600 new product launches in the U.S. and in China.
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Market and sensory methodologies facilitate the optimization of products, in terms of extrinsic and intrinsic design attributes, for the development of products targeted at specific end-user groups. The information gathered can be used to establish the current competitive position, and enable product developers to identify market niches for new, and improved products.
Case study using sensory analysis and focus groups to obtain voice of the customer input.
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Performance Drivers: One is the Quality of Execution. Eight activities distinguish best from worse performers: 1) Conducting a post-launch review (8.2); 2) Assessment of product's value to business (2.1); 3) Test market or trial sell to a limited set of customers (7.13); 4) Concept testing to determine customer reaction to product and gauging purchase intent before Development begins (4.11); 5) Idea Generation (1.3); 6) Customer tests of products under real-life conditions (6.3); 7) Detailed market study/research or Voice of the Customer (4.3, 4.13); 8) Pre-launch business analysis (7.7, 7.8, 7.9).
A quantitative survey of 105 business units, supported by team's experience in NPD modeling, consultation, application and analysis.
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Research data from educational psychology proves people often have a very difficult time taking general concepts and translating them into specific applications. Ensuring comprehension is an important first step, but is not sufficient. One must help people apply the information, and ensure they can perform the tasks to achieve specific results. This can be done by clearly articulating what a user needs to accomplish and in what context.
Medical Device Industry experience.
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Secure early access to and use of customer information in order to have effective new product development.
All respondents from the case studies reported on the importance of early access and use of customer information.
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Six general themes for NPD best practice are described: (1) Instill a strategic, long-term orientation toward NPD. (2) Have a formal portfolio management process. (3) Implement a formal NPD process supported by a discipline to adhere to this process. (4) Conduct market research proactively. (5) Use cross-functional teams. (6) Utilize standardized criteria and metrics.
Generated from published studies on benchmarking data.
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Techniques for gathering voice of the customer information include: use of customer complaints, internal market research, focus groups, one-to-one interviews, phone interviews, contextual inquiry, customer behavior studies, and perceptual mapping.
Literature review and case studies.
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The primary drivers of performance appear to be: 1. Cross-functional Involvement and good interfacing between those involved in undertaking NPD. 2. Developing a profile of defined product/market arenas to direct new product ideation and investment in R&D and marketing capabilities. 3. Provision of adequate resources for undertaking NPD. 4. Leadership and organization of projects including the use of product champions and enabling managers the flexibility to make decisions relating to NPD activities. 5. A strong market orientation that links both customer and competitor insights into the NPD process for improved decision-making. 6. A high level of senior management involvement in order to illustrate to employees that management is committed to successful NPD outcomes. 7. Undertaking up-front homework including appropriate project screening and evaluation activities, concept development and testing, and preliminary market and technical testing.
Survey. Results from questionnaire analysis.
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The user-oriented product development approach is characterized by: a problem analysis of user/use requirements with a starting point in the use situation, leading to the formulation of 'user requirements'; a transformation of these user requirements into measurable engineering requirements;an iterative design where prototypes are tested by users and modified by designers.
Literature review.
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Understanding target customers and their needs requires addressing multiple key attributes: 1. Analysis of critical and secondary needs — enables targeting the product to the right audience. 2. How and under what circumstances do consumers use the product — critical to ensuring that product functions are robust under different operating conditions. 3. What other products are involved — required when auxiliary devices/components (e.g., batteries, remotes) are involved. 4. Consumer perceptions of current products — to determine if the new product can address an unmet need or improve on another product's under performance. 5. Utility value of the product — its ability to satisfy both emotional and physical needs of the user.
Author experience and as applied to a case study.
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Use prototypes, mock ups, or sketches to represent system structure when trying to focus a team on a user interface. Hiding the system structure behind the user interface details makes it easier to talk about the interface itself.
Case study.
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User input involved an initial focus group to establish the development plan, consumer testing of the alpha prototype, and then again field testing of the beta prototype. All to ensure the device fully met the needs of the target audience.
Paper describes device design, prototype construction and testing with consumers involved at all levels.
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User-needs tables combine the two most essential representations of context of use- a task sequence and user problems and possibilities. Thus user-need tables repre3sent user needs to users' problems and possibilities and link them to a task sequence
Case studies.
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Utilization of market research early in the new product development process, and continuing throughout the entire development phase is critical to ensuring success.
Survey data.
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Voice of the Customer Information as a Best Practice for the NPD process: 1) Market and buyer behavior studies are a valuable source of information for planning the market launch. 2) Market research as a tool to help define the product. 3) The customer or user ought to be an integral part of the Development process. 4) Identification of customers or users real or un-articulated needs and their problems, is considered fundamental to voice-of-the-customer research, and should be a key input to product design. 5) Working with highly innovative users or customers.
A quantitative survey of 105 business units, supported by team's experience in NPD modeling, consultation, application and analysis.
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Work closely with consumers to understand their needs and identify their problems.
Authors' research experience. Approximately 67% of high productivity companies followed these practices, while only 15% of low productivity companies did.
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Measures

Authors recognize the important role customers play in in NPD, but also recognize the communication barriers between manufacturers and customers. They propose linking a series data capture tools in a Customer-oriented Information System (COIS). It consists of a Functional Attributes Hierarchy (FAH) which the designers use to capture key product attributes. Customer requirements are separately collected and organized in an Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) to be correlated to the FAH. Lastly, all the material is entered into a relational database which can avert the semantic gaps between the data model and the engineering designs, to better and more accurately capture customer input.
Project team created a software system to capture and reconcile input from corporate and customer sources, and then apply the system to one case example.
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Manufacturers should carefully analyze and integrate the input and knowledge from both the potential early and late adopters, and then design and adjust product features accordingly.
Case analysis.
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Quality Function Deployment is a tool for bringing the voice of the customer into the NPD process from conceptual design through to manufacturing. A survey also found that QFD was most commonly used to clarify customer requirements and ensure those customer requirements are considered in the product engineering requirements.
Survey of 400 companies.
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Survey consumers to obtain purchase intentions. Managers must note that changes in the marketplace and long spans of time between testing and product release may impact the reliability of such results.
Literature Review.
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Survey consumers to produce multi-attribute models that inform the relative importance of product functions and features, as well as its position in the marketplace.
Literature Review.
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Utilize DELI — a segmentation tool to be used when there are large numbers of product features and levels. Can be used to determine the most appropriate market segments for a product, the most appropriate features for a product, the most appropriate features for each market segment, and to identify relevant competition and their offerings.
DELI as a combination of multi-dimensional scaling, customer segmentation and joint –space mapping. Tested using survey data.
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Utilize focus groups to understand new product usage and purchase habits of target market.
Literature Review.
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Tips

“Direct interaction with users is critical for successful two-way flows of knowledge that give researchers an accurate understanding of the context of application and provide users with valuable knowledge whether symbolic, conceptual or instrumental.”
Findings of data analysis
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An emphasis on generating information on customers’ existing and latent needs and the activities of competitors, and employ this in both idea generation and screening of ideas and concepts.
Survey. Manager implications drawn from results of study.
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Avoid making the mistake of not putting the consumer at the forefront of all early development and marketing decisions. The product in this scenario had underperformed because too much focus had been put on the developer’s passion for the product at the expense of proper market research.
Experience of authors.
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By acquiring market information through direct interaction with customers, developers obtain an understanding of what customers want and are better able to integrate this information into new products intuitively.
Survey of 166 NPD firms.
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Customer interaction enhances the NPD process most at the early and and late stages of product design and development. The middle stage of prototyping and bench testing should be left to the internal project staff, while customers can be kept abreast of this interim progress to keep them current. A deficit in current business practice is particularly evident in the early stages of NPD.
Field interviews and 310 survey responses from R&D managers.
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Designing appropriate screening and evaluation “gates” to help prioritize projects and select winners for advancement. Preliminary up-front homework may include such activities as broad screening based on key market and technical capabilities and a broad financial assessment. At a second stage this may include refining product concepts and specifications ensuring stronger customer input and assessment, improved technical evaluation, and financial analysis.
Survey. Manager implications drawn from results of study.
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Effective user involvement has shown to yield a variety of benefits: 1) Improved quality of the system; avoidance of costly features that the user did not want or cannot use; 3) improved levels of acceptance; 4) greater understanding of the system by the user resulting in more effective use; and 5) increased participation in decision-making within the organization.
Case studies.
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Have manufacturing personnel attend market research activities such as focus groups to ensure that they understand customer requirements.
Interviews with four high-tech firms.
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Increase the levels of learning orientation and marketing power within your firm while utilizing proactive marketing orientation and the impact on new product program performance will increase.
Survey. The impact of proactive market orientation on new product program performance was significantly increased under conditions of higher marketing power and learning orientation.
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Involvement of customers with strong past ties will result in the development of products with higher competitive performance than those that involve customers with no or few past ties. However, this practice is most effective when developing incremental products, rather than highly innovative products.
Survey of 137 new product development projects.
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Maintain responsive market orientation when there is a high level of consensus regarding the firms strategy.
Survey. The impact on new product program performance was significantly increased by responsive market orientation under conditions of high strategic consensus.
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Six principles have come out of examination of successful and failed efforts. Companies should 1. get consumers involved in product and service development as early as possible and at all subsequent stages; 2. encourage consumers to focus on what is wanted rather than what is not wanted; 3. encourage consumers to think beyond what is currently available by focusing on what they would like ideally (starting from a clean slate); 4. get consumers to go beyond simply telling what they would like by involving them in designing the product or service; 5. encourage consumers not to worry about likelihood of implementation (feasibility) but to be concerned with desirability; and 6. probe for the reasons why consumers want what they want.
Case Studies.
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To improve short-term competitive performance of products in the marketplace, projects to develop incremental new products should involve homogeneous groups of customers.
Survey of 137 product development projects.
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Use information technology to maintain an electronic connection to customers and external partners in order to make design decisions faster.
Survey of 214 manufacturing firms.
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When operating at higher levels of responsive market orientation, ensure that any proactive market orientation activities are at lower levels to increase new product program performance. When operating at higher levels of proactive market orientation, use lower levels of responsive market orientation.
Survey. There was a significant effect found on new product program performance when both forms of market orientation (responsive and proactive) were simultaneously engaged under varying degrees.
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Secondary findings

Barriers

Challenges in developer/user collaboration include: motivating the developers, identifying appropriate users, obtaining access to users, motivating the users, and deriving benefits from user contacts when established.
Source: Case studies. In: Kujala, S. (2008)

Documentation of external knowledge may not be in a useful format for finding a solution to the problem at hand.
Source: Argote, 1999. In: Marsh, S. J., & Stock, G. N. (2006)

Obstacles to obtaining external information could stem from a company's inability to recognize, assimilate and apply external knowledge, poor absorptive capacity.
Source: Cohen & Levinthal, 1990; Zahra & George, 2002. In: Marsh, S. J., & Stock, G. N. (2006)

Carriers

To mitigate power inequalities and transcend the different cognitive and cultural worlds of participating stakeholders, an independent facilitator should guide the process and fulfill an intermediary role as a knowledge broker.
Source: Sperling & Ashby (2001); Hargadon (2002). In: Klerkx, Laurens & Leeuwis, Cees (2007)

Web-enabled market research or e-voice of the customer could improve product developers ability to ascertain customers reactions throughout the entire design process and even monitor the product as it is being used.
Source: Coulter, et al. (2002). In: Buyukozkan, G, A. Byakasoglu, T. Dereli (2007)

Methods

Addition of evaluation or market simulation step to multidimensional scaling methods.
Source: Albers & Brockhoff, 1985. In: Natter, M. & Mild, A. (2003)

An approach from psychology — repertory grid technique, appears to access tacit knowledge. The particular advantage of repertory grid technique is that it forces the respondent to think deeply and probes their tacit knowledge.
Source: Goffin (2002); Reed (2000). In: Koners, U., & Goffin, K. (2007)

For demand articulation, dialogue between end-users and producers of knowledge and information, as well as other relevant stakeholders, should take place throughout the innovation process.
Source: Douthwaite et al (2001). In: Klerkx, Laurens & Leeuwis, Cees (2007)

Listening to the customer's needs early in the product development process has been identified as being critical for eventual market success.
Source: Griffin & Hauser, 1993; Hauer & Clausing, 1988; Nayak & Chen, 1993. In: Datar, S., Jordan, C.C., Kekre, S., Rajiv, S. & Srinivasan, K. (1997)

Marketing-R&D interface theory suggests that without the interface between these two functions, marketing knowledge would be underused, potentially resulting in unsuccessful products.
Source: Griffin & Hauser (1992); Gupta, Raj, & Wilemon (1986); Song & Dyer (1995); Song & Parry (1997). In: Li, T. & Calantone, R. J. (1998)

One way to integrate the “voice of the customer” is to implement quality function development (QFD). QFD emphasizes identifying customer needs and mapping them to specific product characteristics. A series of interaction matrices translates customer needs into process step specifications.
Source: Hauser & Clausing (1988) and Griffin (1992). In: Spivey, W.A., Munson, J.M., & Wolcott, J.H. (1997)

Some areas of innovation lend themselves better to participatory development than others, and different types of innovation (incremental vs. radical) call for particular competences on the part of participating end users.
Source: Sumberg et al (2003); Lettl (2007). In: Klerkx, Laurens & Leeuwis, Cees (2007)

The market research methods most frequently cited by Fortune 500 companies include: focus groups (used by 68% of companies surveyd); limited roll-out (42%); concept tests (26%); show tests and clinics (19%); attitude and usage studies (19%); conjoint analysis (15%); Delphi (9%); quality function deployment (9%); home usage tests (9%); product life-cycle models (8%); and synectics (8%).
Source: Mahajan and Wind, (1992). In: May-Plumlee, T. & Little, T.J. (2006)

Tips

Among computer and medical equipment manufacturers, successful new products incorporated greater use of market information in the NPD process, while failed products used less.
Source: Ottum & Moore, 1997. In: Suwannapron, P., Speece, M (2003)

Companies must interact with customers when technology is experiencing rapid change.
Source: Day & Wensley (1988). In: Li, T. & Calantone, R. J. (1998)

Customer involvement implies going beyond merely asking customers what they want, as in traditional market research; rather, customer involvement entails non-verbal learning by practical involvement which elicits latent needs.
Source: Matthing et al. (2004). In: Kristensson, P., Matthing, J., & Johansson, N. (2008)

For accuracy while surveying, use key informants (who know more) rather than averaging data from multi-sources.
Source: Huber and Power, 1985. In: Samra, Y.M., Lynn, G.S. & Reilly, R.R. (2008)

The expected growth rate of the market for the product is an important factor for the decision to pursue the new product.
Source: Merrifield (1981). In: Balachandra, R., Friar, J.H. (1997)

The greater the customer demand, the greater the need for integration of marketing knowledge and R&D knowledge in order to fill the gap between customer requirements and product offerings.
Source: Gupta, Raj & Wilemon (1986). In: Li, T. & Calantone, R. J. (1998)

Understanding customer needs and preferences is a key factor in new product success.
Source: Cooper and Kleinschmidt, 1995, 1996. In: Joshi, A. W. & Sharma, S. (2004)

Use Quality Function Deployment to increase the probability of new product success by transforming customers' needs into quality features and functions of the product design.
Source: In: Ittner, C. D. & Larcker, D. F. (1997)