Unmet consumer needs are considered the holy grail of product and service innovation: a mystical, sacred entity with unlimited value and powers for those that know how to tap into it. It would seem that with present day digitalization and social media, it is easier to connect to users everywhere through online surveys, platforms, and data mining technology. Moving from a mass-producing economy to one based on individually tailored products suggests that the gap between consumer needs and producer response are closely aligned. Yet the mystique surrounding unmet user needs remains.
This article is part of the THNK VIEWS series. We bridge theory and practice on organizing imagination and innovation by extracting key implications and offering new insights to innovation practitioners. This article builds on Philippe Duverger’s research Variety is the Spice of Innovation: Mediating Factors in the Service Idea Generation Process.
Duverger’s key findings suggest that:
- Consumers seeking variety are most likely to have the most innovative ideas, but will also switch services easily.
- When combined with enough technical knowledge and resources, these users will be able to create the products and services that will satisfy their unmet needs.
- To secure future business prosperity, greater attention should be given to finding new ways to appeal to these users, and find their unmet consumer needs.
Read full article about Customer Research and Consumer Delight visit Innovation Management.