Full citation

Ciccantelli, S., & Magidson, J. (1993). From Experience: Consumer Idealized Design: Involving Consumers in the Product Development Process. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 10(4), 341-347.

Format: Peer-reviewed article

Type: Experience

Experience level of reader: Fundamental

Annotation: The authors of this article describe Consumer Idealized Design, as a process for involving consumers in the actual design of a new manufactured good or service. They provide descriptions of how the process works, how it differs from traditional focus groups and what a good facilitator will and will not do. Three case studies are presented as well.

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


  • 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
    Occurrence of finding within the model: Step 4.11
  • Unlike focus groups, which are usually completed in less than three hours, consumer design sessions generally require an entire day.
    Author experience.
    Occurrence of finding within the model: Tip 4.13
  • Consumer participants engage in a brainstorming session to prepare a basic list of specifications for the ideal product or service to be designed. Specifications can include any feature desired by the participants, no matter how outrageous, as well as standard characteristics such as color, weight, function, size, speed, shape, availability, cost, and so on.
    Author experience.
    Occurrence of finding within the model: Tip 4.13