Full citation

N/A. (2007). The Customer Comes First: Priorities in Product Design for GM, Sharp and Healthcare. Strategic Direction, 23(11), 26-28.

Format: Peer-reviewed article

Type: Research — Non-experimental

Experience level of reader: Fundamental

Annotation: This article briefly describes three scenarios, two pertaining to large companies (GM and Sharp) and one pertaining to an entrepreneur in the healthcare industry. In all three scenarios, the management realized or understood the importance of truly knowing what the customer wants before producing a new product.

Setting(s) to which the reported activities/findings are relevant: Large business, Small business (less than 500 employees)

Knowledge user(s) to whom the piece of literature may be relevant: Manufacturers

Knowledge user level addressed by the literature: Organization

This article uses the Commercial Devices and Services version of the NtK Model

Primary Findings


  • 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.
    Occurrence of finding within the model: Tip 2.1, Tip 4.1, Step 4.11
  • Find your customer, pin them down, get into their head and be them for a while. Only then will you know what they really want. And only then can you begin to be in a position to be the first to provide it.
    Experience of author.
    Occurrence of finding within the model: Step 1.2
  • For a new product to succeed its specific consumer must be identified and understood before the first designer so much as lifts his pen.
    Experience of author
    Occurrence of finding within the model: Step 1.2