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Innovation Dilemma Thoughts And The Customer Feedback

There are many great and classic business books that business leaders consider their favorite, that speak about the thinking of innovation dilemmas, such as “Visionary Company”, “Management”, and “Competitive Strategy”, but how many of them have you read? In this series, Hiroyuki Araki, author of “Discover Twenty-One,” and a connoisseur of business books, carefully selects masterpieces that will be passed down to many business people. 

Speaking About Customers Feedback On Innovation Dilemma

To help busy readers quickly grasp the essence of a masterpiece, we introduce one book each time with critical points of explanation and illustrations. Even in times of rapid change and uncertainty, knowing the “standards” of business through famous books will surely be helpful in your work.

 In this first installment of the series, we will examine the timeless masterpiece “The Innovator’s Dilemma: Expanded and Revised Edition” (SHOEISHA), written by Professor Clayton Christensen of Harvard Business School.

The reasons why great companies succeed and fail are the same.

“Listen To Your Customers!”

 Only a few people would question this statement. Many business people will have had many career experiences where they achieved success because they sincerely responded to customer feedback. Through that experience, I believe that “listening to the voice of the customer” is firmly embedded in your behavioral paradigm.

 That’s why the paradoxical message that “we fail because we listen to the voice of our customers” had a considerable impact. This is one message from Clayton Christensen’s The Innovator’s Dilemma.

There is this passage in the first chapter of the book:

 Simply put, the best companies succeed because they listen intently to their customers and proactively invest in technology, products, and production equipment to meet the demands of the next generation of customers. Paradoxically, however, the same reason is why many excellent companies subsequently fail.

This is because we listen carefully to our customers and proactively invest in technology, products, and production equipment to meet the needs of the next generation of customers. 

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 In other words, companies succeed because they listen to their customers and fail because they listen to their customers. The advice to “listen to your customers!” is half true and half false. When should you listen to what customers are saying? Companies that fail to understand this will be immersed in the dilemma that awaits them after success.

 So what should we do? To understand this, let’s reread the contents of this book.

Christensen’s messages through this book can be summarized into seven parts. (Christensen translates his main points into seven points in Chapter 11 at the end of the book.) Let’s understand Christensen’s message by following this arrangement.

1.There Is A “Gap” Between The Pace Of Customer Needs And Technology Evolution Of Innovation Dilemma

 For example, let’s take a look at the smartphones we currently use. Is there anyone who can use all of its functions? Technology continues to improve and evolve ever-increasingly (=sustainable innovation). However, customer needs grow at a slower pace.

This is why products that are “over-spec” for customers are born. On the other hand, a product sufficient to meet current customer needs may be a product with dramatically lowered technical specifications (=disruptive innovation) created for a completely different customer group.

2.Resource Allocation Is The Key To Managing Innovation.

 Of course, all players know the threat of “disruptive innovation dilemma.” However, the most challenging point lies in whether or not resources such as funds and human resources can be allocated to unknown disruptive innovations.

The allocation of resources is greatly influenced by staff who have acquired knowledge and intuition within existing fields. The team places value on continuously evolving technology while listening to customer opinions. That’s why we find ourselves in the innovation dilemma of “I understand it in my head, but I don’t take action” regarding disruptive innovations that result in lower specifications.

Why “the power of designers” is essential for innovation in Japanese companies

The current status of “design management” as discussed by core members #1 Interview with Yuichi WASHIDA, Professor, Graduate School of Business Administration, HITOTSUBASHI University

Incorporating design into the core of business strategy will improve branding and innovation capabilities, increasing international competitiveness. It has been more than four years since the Japan Patent Office and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry announced the “Design Management” Declaration with such a powerful message.

Although it is difficult to say that “design management” has spread widely due to the forced slowdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, notable examples are beginning to emerge.

We asked Yuichi WASHIDA, a professor at HITOTSUBASHI University Graduate School, who served as the chairman of the “Study Group on Industrial Competitiveness and Design” jointly organized by the Japan Patent Office and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, about the current status of design management in Japan and the challenges ahead. (Listener/SHOICHIRO OTINAGI, Composition/Freelance writer Naomi Kobayashi)

The meaning behind the appointment of a designer as the head of the Digital Agency

–Regarding the spread of “design management,” your book “Design Management” shows a survey showing that the awareness rate is 5%. Are there any gaps in your expectations?

 As expected, it’s a struggle. On the other hand of the innovation dilemma, there are also positive unexpected outcomes. In April 2022, former Toshiba designer Takashi Asanuma was appointed the digital agency’s top administrative officer and digital director.

He became the head of the ministry where designers drive the country’s digital policy. In other words, the government has demonstrated that more than IT experts are needed to promote DX; a design perspective is essential.

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