Summary of Identifying Hidden Needs

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Most experts fail to explore the foundation of innovation: research. Authors Keith Goffin, Fred Lemke and Ursula Koners believe most new products fail because they are not based on research that uncovers consumers’ “hidden needs.” Developing new offerings based on the data produced by outdated research methods is like trying to cook a gourmet meal with inferior ingredients. The authors try to put a human face on ethnographic research by supplying several case studies per chapter, but that does little to relieve the dry and technical nature of the subject matter. The text is not for the casual reader. For market researchers and product developers, however, getAbstract believes this treatise will offer new, worthy ideas and methods presented in a variety of formats with charts, graphs, grids and more.

About the Authors

Keith Goffin teaches innovation at the UK’s Cranfield School of Management. Fred Lemke teaches marketing at the US’s Alliant International University, where Ursula Koners is a visiting research fellow.



Innovative Flops

Why do so many products fall short of company expectations? Often it’s because manufacturers create new offerings based on traditional research methods that do not reveal what consumers really want. Because they don’t understand these “hidden needs,” companies fail to produce products that satisfy an unfulfilled market niche.

Conventional market research relies heavily on focus groups and surveys. These methods probe customers’ impressions of products and services they already use. This usually generates ideas for incremental innovations rather than identifying even the possibility of, let alone the potential for, completely new offerings. Many marketing practitioners are reluctant to try enhanced research methods because they’re either skeptical of the process or have concerns about the costs or the difficulty.

Hidden needs are “issues and problems that customers face but have not yet realized.” Social sciences form the foundation for “hidden needs analysis” (HNA) techniques. By combining HNA methods with traditional market research, companies can gain comprehensive, reliable insights. These insights pose challenges, problems and cultural issues...

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