Discoveries Newsletter

Volume 12, #4, June 2014
Eight excuses companies make for not exploring customer needs up front
by Sheila Mello

Research into the psychology of excuses hypothesizes that one reason individuals rationalize behavior is to make themselves feel okay. Companies--or the people within them--do the same thing.

Volume 12, #3, April 2014
Why not rely on CRM systems for product input?
by Sheila Mello

Opening the floodgates to let customer comments stream directly to the development team is the equivalent of a restaurant deciding to do without waiters, a maitre d' hotel, and a kitchen manager.

Volume 12, #2, March 2014
Conduct better interviews when you learn to relax, tolerate silence, and be a little pushy
by Sheila Mello

One of the best ways to understand your customers’ lives is by interviewing them.

Unfortunately, the customer interview is one of the most frequently botched methods of obtaining information.

Find out why.

Volume 12, #1, January 2014
Stop the insanity of measuring percent of sales from new products
by Wayne Mackey

You’ve heard the saying “use it or lose it.” We’d like to propose a variation for the New Year: “lose it AND use it.”

Volume 11, #7, December 2013
Ditch the battle metaphors to find the balance between structure and flexibility that works for you
by Sheila Mello

War analogies to business have been around for a while. They should be retired from business in general and product development in particular.

Volume 11, #6, November 2013
Three ideas to tame product development chaos
by Sheila Mello

Your company can enjoy great success fueled by little more than inspiration. A single insight, perhaps sparked by the founder’s direct experience, can drive the first wave of growth. But then... Here’s how to avoid the chaos that sometimes follows a fast, successful start—and get on the right track for continued growth.

Volume 11, #5, October 2013
The dangers (and surprising benefits) of multi-projecting
by Sheila Mello

Distraction, multitasking, and interruption are productivity killers. Here's how to find the right balance for optimal productivity.

Volume 11, #4, August 2013
When it comes to understanding customers, brevity is overrated
by Sheila Mello

In the right hands, brevity can convey deep meaning—but those of us whose jobs involve getting to know customers need to go deep.

Volume 11, #3, May 2013
Why you need an attitude change about the what, who, and when of research
by Sheila Mello

Making new stuff is exciting. We talk about inspiration, creative sparks, and brainstorms; we celebrate debuts and unveilings. But while launch celebrations are common, nobody ever throws a research party. It’s easy to neglect the R part of R&D amidst all the attention to the D.

Volume 11, #2, April 2013
Accounting for customer needs assures a high-value outcome
by Wayne Mackey

Many companies don’t measure R&D efficiency at all. Those that do often use a fatally flawed method: measuring sales per R&D employee. The problem with this common metric is that it provides feedback only after you’ve already made the mistakes that decrease R&D efficiency. Here’s a different approach to measuring R&D efficiency that takes a page from manufacturing’s book—and combines it with a focus on the customer.