Guerilla New Product Development


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Presented at the Voice of Your Customer Summit, Chicago, June 2009
Describes methods by which product development teams can overcome resource constraints to successfully deliver innovations that consumers need, by applying historical lessons from guerrilla warfare.
To fully understand the presentation, it is best to download it, open it up in PowerPoint, and view it in the "Notes View" format. Full speaker's notes are included, explaining what was discussed in each slide.

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  • Brad Barbera is a Certified New Product Development Professional and formerly the Director of New Product Development in the Technology Accessories division of Fellowes, Inc. With degrees in Chemical Engineering and Economics from Northwestern University, and an MBA from the University of Chicago, Brad has spent his career developing and commercializing hundreds of new home goods, personal care, food, and ergonomic products. He created and served as the Chairman of the Fellowes Global Sustainable Business Committee, and served as the lead scientific advisor on green business practices for the company. He has trained technical product development staff in Building Relationships with Internal and External Customers, Ethnography, and Customer-Driven Product Development, and is a certified by the Positive Coaching Alliance as a Double-Goal Coach.
  • Please let me orient you to Fellowes, since that is where the work described in this presentation took place. Fellowes is a global office-products company with almost a century of history in the Chicago area. The product lines are diverse, ranging from the Bankers Box corrugated storage containers upon which the company was originally founded, to the shredders for which it is probably best known, to ergonomic and organizational office products such as back supports, foot rests, palm supports, and paper management tools. It is a well-managed, family owned organization that actually does live its core values. These four core values are what helped make guerrilla tactics in New Product Development (NPD) successful at Fellowes. The values are also some of the reasons that Fellowes has been recognized as one of the best places to work in Chicago.
  • I generally like to take a Theory and Practice approach in these kinds of presentations; incorporating some general thoughts and lessons with my real-life experience. I’m going to start by talking briefly about the theories of guerrilla warfare, and then show how those theories can be applied to product and service development, and in particular to understanding the Voice of the Customer. Please feel free to ask any questions you may have along the way. Also, please be aware that the full PowerPoint presentation is available for download, with all of my speaker’s notes, so if I do happen to say or show anything that is of interest, you can easily access it. Please note that as I speak, I will be approaching this from the perspective of someone who is highly resource constrained. I was just at the Front End of Innovation conference in Boston last month, and heard a speaker there from Procter and Gamble. Nothing against that company, but P&G had more researchers in one building than most companies have total employees. I questioned how the lessons he taught could be transferred to an organization with just, say, a dozen or so people. This presentation is mostly geared toward that much smaller firm, although the lessons can be used by any organization of any size that is facing severely constrained resources. Please also note that the suggestions I am offering are not intended to replace more conventional NPD/VoC methods, but rather to enhance and/or backup those methods when resources are tightly constrained.
  • Guerrilla warfare is highly controversial in history. My suggestions are likely to be no less controversial in your business. With that said, a well-known and important route to innovation is applying lessons learned from one field to another, seemingly unrelated field. The competitive market place has frequently been compared to war, ever since someone began to apply Sun Tzu’s The Art of War to the business world. This presentation is an attempt to introduce you to a similar comparison of lessons learned from those who have been successful defeating enemies that would seem to have every possible resource advantage over them. [Click to activate pictures] Looking back at historical guerrilla warriors, you’ll find that many are revered as heroes, while others are reviled as demons. Sometimes the difference comes down, not to the warrior in question, but to whom you are asking for an opinion. This presentation should not be construed as a political statement of any kind. It is simply a translation of valuable lessons that can be applied to innovative business practices, and in particular to gathering the voice of the customer. It is not an invitation to “fight dirty,” but rather an introduction to innovative methods to fairly and ethically maximize limited resources in the battle for marketplace success.
  • While trying to avoid a military history lesson, I’m going to talk about some of the historical developments in guerrilla combat. Now, whether you like Mao Tse-Tung or not, he did successfully lead a guerrilla conflict, and captured the lessons he learned about conducting guerrilla warfare. He divided guerrilla war into three phases: Phase I development of local support harassing the enemy through espionage, sabotage, or civil unrest an intense political indoctrination process, which adds to the intensity and dedication of the guerrillas Phase II organizational growth, and combat against the enemy apply strength against weakness chose when and where to do battle Phase III transition of the guerrilla organization into a conventional force
  • Since the battlefield we fight in is the marketplace, we need to discuss how these concepts apply to Product and Service development. The three phases translate well to guerrilla NPD/VoC tactics: Phase I Create vision and definition of success Develop cross-functional and managerial support Indoctrination process (I prefer to call it “training”) Phase II Do-It-Yourself VoC intelligence Concentrate on Blue Oceans (or Blue Lakes or even Blue Ponds) – part of applying strength against weakness Rapid prototyping and decision-making Chose when and where to launch products and services Phase III Transition to conventional methodologies Note that the transition to conventional methods is still an important part of the process. Guerrilla tactics are not intended to replace conventional tactics, but rather to supplement and enhance those methodologies when necessary.
  • Guerrillas must rely heavily on internal and external support: internal support from the local populace for things such as personnel, medical care, food, and intelligence/information. External support comes from governments whose views parallel those of the guerrillas, and can include things such as weapons and safe haven for training, rest, and planning future operations. In building support, you need a clear definition of success. It seems strange, but we often play the game without clear and mutually understood definitions of success. Without this, teams can often work at cross-purposes. With clarity, however, seeming losses can actually be important victories. [Click to change picture] For example, when Francis Marion, “the Swamp Fox” of the American Revolutionary War, battled superior numbers of better-equipped British regulars, he technically “lost” the engagement. However, it was a Pyrrhic victory for the British, who suffered so many casualties that they left for home. This was Marion’s real objective, so in the end, he secured the real victory.
  • Support must come from many different sources…management, internal staff, external experts, sources of information, etc. You must be the judge of how to build management support. I, myself, tend to follow the philosophy of “it’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission.” You are likely to hear a host of objections, many of which are quite valid, to conducting guerrilla-style activities. The “ask for forgiveness” approach has the advantage of demonstrating value that might not otherwise be seen. For internal staff, make it exciting, rather than an additional burden. A compelling vision for the organization, the project, and the individual’s development will help. Find ways to relieve their non-value-added duties with some Lean thinking, to give them the capacity for guerrilla work. Safe haven should be provided by a supportive manager, who is willing to accept the responsibility and share the credit, making allowances for “good failure,” and making room for the training and execution on people’s schedules.
  • Guerrilla warfare must obviously have people to do the fighting. It is not just a matter of throwing anyone and everyone into the battle. Personnel are selected who can actually provide value to the effort. With extremely limited resources, the guerrilla campaign cannot expend efforts in trying to carry along those who cannot provide genuine support. The basic qualifications of guerillas are: Tactically valuable skills and abilities Complete loyalty and spirit of sacrifice for the cause Physical stamina to endure hardships Familiarity with the local terrain and populace
  • Similar qualities are needed for the guerrilla product developer. Empathy with the customer and other functions in the organization is the single most critical need. All members of a guerrilla team, whether engineers, marketers, accountants, whatever, should be “living with” the consumer and each other, in order to fully understand both customer needs and how the organization can work to fulfill and exceed them. They should have a particular passion for innovation, with the ability to focus on the end objective and morph concepts to meet that objective. They should be both resilient and resourceful, to overcome the inevitable hurdles and doubts along the way to commercialization. They must be familiar with both the market and the customer, like a guerrilla warrior is familiar with the terrain. A guerrilla team leader must be a master of personnel evaluation and motivation, using the concept of comparative advantage to determine who should do what on a team, maximizing overall team output for limited resource inputs. An interesting concept that I picked up at the FEI conference comes from WinOvations. Their approach uses the Myers-Briggs personality profile to identify “starters,” those who are naturally adept at creating and morphing ideas into successful products. Their research is pretty compelling, and I think are worth further examination.
  • It’s obviously impossible to fight a battle, let alone a war, without armaments of some sort. Guerrillas will rely initially on available resources, and adapt their tactics to the weapons on hand. For example, in the American Revolution, many soldiers had to use their personal long-barrel rifles, intended for hunting rather than fighting a conventional war of the time. In the guerrilla tactics of the time, this could be advantageous with range and accuracy, but to the significant sacrifice of reloading time. External resources need to be leveraged to maintain long-term viability, and to successfully compete against the superior armaments of a better-equipped enemy. Afghan rebels, for example, needed US arms support to eventually drive the high-tech and well-equipped Soviet invasion force out.
  • For NPD, your personnel need to be armed with business resources, particularly in the form of time and training. Time to devote to learning, and training in how to learn. Unfortunately, time does not permit an in-depth look at the wide variety of training points, so this is just the briefest of introductions. The first skill to learn is that of astute anthropological observation. Take teams to stores, to customer sites, to non-customers with unique needs. Practice recording observations, thinking about them creatively, sharing and presenting data, and conducting interviews. Teach people to look for the unarticulated needs. It’s all about studying what your customer is trying to achieve, and how you can add value to getting them there. Schick Wilkinson Sword offered an outstanding example of how the search for unarticulated needs can radically change your assumptions about a market, and thereby lead to successful and profitable innovation. Learn to use online tools like Survey Monkey and Zoomerang – low-cost methods of collecting consumer data. Leverage the search engine battles – the competition for the best search engine means more targeted and applicable information will come to you in each new search. Google is still the king of search engines, but there are several others out there worth looking at. Bing is the latest entry, and other big players include and yahoo, but other excellent sources of information include online stock trackers like Yahoo! Finance (following the stocks of target industries exposes you to a variety of announcements that contain great information), government data such as from the Department of Commerce, and of course industry trade magazines. Some services, like LexisNexis, have low-cost per-use fees that don’t require expensive subscriptions. Online social networks are a rich source of information that have been discussed frequently in presentations at this conference. Learning to use Twitter, MySpace, Facebook, and LinkedIn for information collection, network building, and marketing is critical for the guerrilla product development effort in today’s market. Customer feedback is an obvious source of information, especially if interpreted with an eye toward uncovering the truths that lie below the surface of the comment. For customer comments that don’t come into your organization, look at epinions, Amazon, etc. for consumer feedback. Check out consumer reports, – there are a variety of professional and customer review sites worth referencing. Build a network of thought leaders and experts that you can leverage. Universities are a great source for both professors and alumni. Professional societies such as the PDMA are great for building networks, and of course, networking at conferences like this can be extremely valuable. Internal ideation and concept development can be conducted by investing in training internal facilitators, and buying a few ideation toys. Have those trained serve as trainers for other parts of the organization. Train your team in Quality Function Deployment (the “House of Quality”). QFD is a great NPD weapon, helping to translate customer needs into executable engineering specifications. A recent development is in the area of prediction markets (“securities trading on concepts”)…check out Foresight Exchange at and Iowa Electronic Markets at for examples of such markets. Such securities market approaches have been shown to work for both concepts and attributes. I am new to this arena, but I believe it will prove to be a potentially powerful and inexpensive tool.
  • T. E. Lawrence (“Lawrence of Arabia”) led a successful guerrilla war in the Middle East, and held out the promise that imperial occupying powers were defeatable; the apparent strength of their armies could be negated by careful use of guerrilla methods. His theory contained four key elements, which he called: Mobility Small unit actions Attack at night; with surprise; against the flanks and rear of the enemy Attack lightly-defended supply facilities and isolated units Ambushing reinforcements Security Safe havens Superior intelligence Pick the time and place to do battle Thorough knowledge of the terrain Time The enemy wants to go home sooner than you will give up Doctrine A cause worth fighting for “ Moral High Ground”
  • The Four Elements of guerrilla warfare readily adapt to the product development world. Mobility in the NPD context means adaptability and speed. Small, empowered “tiger-team” units will be most effective. Surprise is possible when flying under a competitors radar. Attacking niches that the bigger players overlook or avoid can be highly profitable. Making rapid decisions with less bureaucracy is a must for guerrilla-style success. Engage in scenario planning, considering possible competitive responses and market changes, and prepare in advance for rapid responses to each scenario. Security is a strange term, especially given the state of the economy today. In the case of guerrilla NPD, the security comes from having a managerial sponsor who provides “safe haven” and resources. It is also about stealth…getting close to customers and moving among them like you are one of them, being highly selective in what parts of the market you choose to attack. You attack where you are highly confident you can win. Time is a strange one. Under the heading of “mobility,” I emphasized speed as a key element of success, and that is true. However, time can be on your side as well. The guerrilla is in it for the long haul. Guerrilla tactics in NPD are about winning the hearts and minds of customers, which is a long building process. You must focus on this long-term goal while engaging in rapid project work. Lawrence’s lesson was that “the enemy will want to go home before you will give up.” Your objective will be to capture and secure those markets that bigger players won’t feel are worth fighting for, at least until you are well-established in that arena. Maintaining the vision of better serving customers, being closer to them, on more intimate terms, beating the big guys, doing great things, etc., is critical to guerrilla success. Celebration of successes and failures, learning from mistakes while building on victories, is extremely important. Ongoing training, open discussions, and cross-functional teaming are necessary to keep the movement going and to maximize the chances of success.
  • This has nothing to do with product development, but it does teach an important lesson about guerrilla tactics…the financial cost savings don’t come for free! Last year, I decided to save the money on professional deck sealing, and do it myself. The job turned out to be far more laborious, messy, and challenging than I ever anticipated. The opportunity cost of lost time to do anything else probably outweighed the financial savings. To reiterate what I said early on in the presentation, these suggestions are not intended to replace outside professional help. They are meant to supplement them. There is much good that can come out, but be fully aware of the costs that are being substituted for the financial ones.
  • Now, for a big success story. My division of Fellowes was almost completely a commercial, rather than retail business. This presents some challenges in hearing the voices of customers, as they are often anonymous and changing. While working on ergonomic products for the office, and we wanted to get into the minds of ergonomists and decision makers for such products in various businesses. Taking the standard survey/interview approach was going to cost tens of thousands of dollars, which was tens of thousands more than we had available for such research in our budget. Time for guerrilla tactics! In December 2008, there was an ergonomics convention in Las Vegas. We developed our own questionnaire, and flew one of the team out to the convention. Armed with $250 in poker chips, our guerrilla market researcher stood outside the event and offered a $5 token to anyone willing to spend ten minutes with him on a survey. During the two-day event, fifty professional ergonomists, consultants, and corporate representatives went through the interview, often volunteering far more than ten minutes of their time to talk about the subject they were passionate about. The interviewer, having expertise in both the subject and the corporate strategy, was able to probe more deeply on questions that arose in the interview process, far more effectively than an outside researcher could have. Forty interviewees were signed up for a follow-up research group that would provide ongoing insight for the future. For less than $1000 in expenses, extremely valuable information was gleaned and leveraged.
  • For a new innovation project, in which we were trying to expand into adjacent product categories, we needed to dive deeply into the needs of customers. These were needs that we had not previously considered at all. Resource constraints prohibited the use of outside market research, so we became our own ethnographers. We formed teams of cross-functional colleagues, including engineers, designers, marketers, and supply chain professionals. We then began to network with local businesses, suppliers, and customers, and asked them to allow us to observe and record how they operate. With a few cameras, notepads, and voice recorders, we collected data on dozens of businesses around the country. My particular research was done in a bank office. We conducted interviews with personnel in key roles as well. We then collated the information, synthesized it into key unmet needs, and began developing unique new products that hopefully you will see in the market in the not-too-distant future.
  • We formed an internal “Power User Group” for data collection at Fellowes. Some would call it “Alpha Testing.” We are an office products company, so our offices are filled with target customers. We collected data on individuals willing to participate, and then used the information to conduct ideation sessions, surveys, focus groups, and alpha testing. We served as our own moderators to facilitate various events with fast, inexpensive, yet valuable input, particularly at the Fuzzy Front End.
  • Our Body Glove team was considering expanding it’s portfolio of personal electronics cases into additional markets. Two that were being considered were GPS systems and portable satellite radios. Purchasing the relevant market data was cost prohibitive for the business. We conducted our own internal online research into both categories. By assembling data collected from various articles, complement and competitive websites, PR releases, and industry analyses, we were able to piece together an effective analysis of the futures of both markets. We successfully pursued a profitable GPS business, while wisely avoiding portable satellite radios. Information came from sources like Google, Yahoo! Finance, Department of Commerce data, Business Week, the Wall Street Journal, similar business news sources, and consumer electronics industry trade magazines. The hard work was not in collecting the information, but rather in piecing the information together in a cohesive whole. The information is out there, and available for very low cost (often free). You need to be adept at digesting it to make it useful.
  • In a previous presentation at the portfolio management conference, I presented information on a methodology we called “plat-storming,” as well as some suggestions on how to internally facilitate an ideation session. Anyone who is interested can access it from my website. For now, let me just show the results of an internal ideation session that used this methodology. We were able to generate over 400 ideas that were consolidated and morphed into over 30 concepts, of which 19 were selected for development based on global market and technological success criteria. About 2/3 are scheduled for actual launch. As a bonus “guerrilla tactic,” since spending on things like food was restricted, we were able to have a working lunch with the full team by securing a lunch sponsorship by a new local restaurant in exchange for advertising their presence to the staff. All part of that “building support” thing!
  • Rapid prototyping has been touted by many, including IDEO, to be a critical factor in successful innovation. We followed that rule, again using some resourcefulness as needed. We affectionately referred to our early prototype creations as “Frankensteins,” because they were functional, but not pretty, and were often cobbled together with spare parts and pieces obtained at the local hardware store. In a previous company, we would go to one of my favorite stores, American Science and Surplus, to find parts as well for our creations. We’d then show our crude prototypes and solicit feedback. [Click to add picture] There is a danger with such prototypes. Much as the angry villagers attacked the monster of the movies, some people will reject your Frankensteins without giving them a chance. Expose your creations selectively. [Click for picture] In VoC terms, you’ll have to listen carefully, gleaning out the valuable nuggets while ignoring the valueless. One product that will be launching in the near future relied on guerrilla prototyping to survive. It was a concept that did not have broad support in the organization, and therefore was not well-funded, but it had a few passionate supporters. It was initially prototyped by our radical innovation leader with door hinges, plywood, wood screws, and sheets of plastic from a storage box. It captured the concept in a functional way, although it required a good deal of imagination to see the possibilities. It was initially rejected by the business team. It was too bulky, too heavy, not something anyone would use, etc. The VoC gleaning was to make the “real” product sleek and lightweight, while delivering the functionality we had hit upon. We knew we could do this, and so we continued, because we believed in the possibilities. After going through additional crude prototypes to finalize the critical functions we wanted to deliver, including some made from discarded corrugated boxes, and working outside the normal process, calling in a few favors (remember the importance of relationship-building in guerrilla tactics!), we were able to make a sleek prototype, thinner than a pencil, that wowed the business team. It is now a lead “hero” product that is providing opportunities for expansion into new customers and channels.
  • In addition to sharing some anecdotes and examples, there is some quantitative support for using such tactics to drive success. In data comparing the “best” versus “the rest” in the PDMA Foundation’s most recent Comparative Performance Assessment Study, the single biggest gap in market research tools was in Alpha Testing – that internal testing with employees before exposing to anyone on the outside. Guerrilla tactics at work!
  • In the same study, the biggest difference in design engineering tool use was QFD – an old tool, but a great weapon in the guerrilla product developer’s arsenal. It is a wonderful method of translating customer needs into technical deliverables, and it can be done very inexpensively.
  • Finally, from that same study, with regards to incentives and rewards, the biggest gap was in “project completion celebrations.” If you thought that the warm fuzzies of esprit de corps and “doctrine” discussed in the guerrilla approach were not all that important, think again. That kind of thing really does drive performance.
  • In my experiences using non-standard guerrilla tactics, there are several key lessons that I’ve learned which I want to share with you. First and foremost is that the quality of the data will be different than what you get with more standard approaches. Notice that I say “different” and not “worse.” You must consider the bang-for-the-buck, the resources available, the information required, and the objectives sought. The learning curve can be steep, especially as you train people outside of their areas of expertise. Engineers tend not to be natural anthropologists, and marketers may not be accountants. It’s in combining the skills among the team, having empathy for each other and the customer, that fosters success. There are some legal cautions…you need permission before you start snapping pictures of people shopping or of your customer’s workplace. A sample form is included in the appendix. Don’t forget to count the costs. This is not a free lunch, and it is not free cost savings. In addition to the quality issue mentioned above, there is opportunity cost. Engineers spending time observing the marketplace means engineers not spending time engineering. Finally, have a support network, both internally and externally. You’ll need partners to share resources, provide assistance, and even encouragement. If you are interested in being part of a network of guerrilla-tactic organizations, please see me after the presentation or during a break, as I am beginning to assemble such a network..
  • That concludes the formal presentation. The following pages contain some useful resources for further study or reference, if you are interested. At the very end, there is some contact information from me, should you like to follow-up down the road. In the meantime, I thank you for your attention, and will be happy to answer any questions that you may have.
  • Please contact me at if you would like to receive a Microsoft Word version of this document.
  • Please contact me at if you would like to receive a Microsoft Word version of this document.
  • Please feel free to contact me if you would like to discuss this any further. I hope you find it helpful. The full PowerPoint presentation will be available on my website for download. This presentation has been updated from the one that was published with the conference materials, and it has a full set of speaker notes included to explain the concepts, methods, and procedures in some detail. You are welcome to use the slides to illustrate the methods to others as well.
  • Guerilla New Product Development

    1. 1. Guerilla NPD Battling Bigger And Better-Resourced Competitors (and Winning) Please Note: The slides for this presentation are primarily graphical in nature. To fully understand the presentation, it is best to download it, open it up in PowerPoint, and view it in the "Notes View" format. Full speaker's notes are included there, explaining what was discussed in each slide. Your Brad Barbera Voice of the^Customer Summit June, 2009 X
    2. 2. Introduction to Fellowes Named one of Family-owned "Chicago's 101 Founded in 1917 Best and Brightest Operations in 15 countries Companies to Employing 2500+ worldwide Work For" in 2007 MISSION: FOUR CORE VALUES: to provide innovative • Integrity workspace solutions to help • Teamwork people work more securely, • Passion comfortably and confidently. • Initiative
    3. 3. Agenda • Guerilla Tactics ● In political conflict ● Application to Product Development ● Application to VoC in particular • Real Life Examples • Key Lessons Learned
    4. 4. Warning! C O N TR O VE R S Y AH EAD ! “Guerrilla warfare has been practiced throughout the ages as a method… to overcome the strength of an enemy through an unconventional form of warfare.” ~Major Johnie Gombo, USMC
    5. 5. Theory: Political Conflict P h a s e s o f G u e r r illa Phase I a r f a r e W • Development of local support Phase II • Guerrilla Combat Phase III • Transition to conventional force
    6. 6. Application So How Does This Apply to NPD? Phase I • Development of support Phase II • Guerrilla Product Development Phase III • Transition to conventional methods
    7. 7. Theory: Build Support S U P P O R T IN G u e r r illa Wa rfa re What? • Personnel • Medical Care • Food • Intelligence • Weapons • Safe Haven How? • Vision • Defined Success • Returns
    8. 8. Application So How Does This Apply to NPD? What? • Personnel • Training • Time • Information • Safe Haven How? • Vision • Defined Success • Returns on Investment
    9. 9. Theory: Select and Train Personnel p e r s o n n e l IN G u e r r illa Wa rfa re “The more the enemy extends himself, the greater is the effect of arming the people…like a slow gradual fire, it destroys the base of the enemy force.” ~Karl von Clausewitz
    10. 10. Application So How Does This Apply to NPD? Basic qualifications of guerilla product developers: ● Empathy ● Passion ● Resilience ● Resourcefulness ● Awareness ● “Starter” personalities Picture courtesy
    11. 11. Application A R M S IN G u e r r illa W a r f a r e Personnel Must be Armed ● Available Resources ● External Resources
    12. 12. Application So How Does This Apply to NPD? •Time •Training
    13. 13. Theory: Tactics T A C T IC S IN G u e r r illa Wa rfa re • Mobility • Security • Time • Doctrine
    14. 14. Application So How Does This Apply to NPD? • Mobility ● Niches ● Rapid Response ● Scenario Planning • Security ● Safe haven ● Closeness to customers ● Selectivity • Time • Doctrine ● Empathy/connection ● Celebration/Esprit de Corps
    15. 15. Real Life Experiences Deck Sealing
    16. 16. Real Life Experiences Viva Las Vegas
    17. 17. Real Life Experiences Take it to the Bank
    18. 18. Real Life Experiences “Power User Group”
    19. 19. Real Life Experiences Fits Like a Glove
    20. 20. Real Life Experiences The “I” of the (Brain)Storm Concepts Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 137 9 8 246 15 8 Platforms 55 4 2 8 3 1
    21. 21. Real Life Experiences Creating a Monster
    22. 22. Lessons Learned Guerrilla NPD in Use
    23. 23. Lessons Learned QFD as a Guerrilla Weapon
    24. 24. Lessons Learned Importance of “Doctrine”
    25. 25. Lessons Learned 1) Different data quality 2) Steep learning curve 3) Legal Cautions 4) Not a free lunch 5) Guerrilla Support Network
    26. 26. Appendices Tools Resources Contact Information
    27. 27. Tools Fellowes DIY Ethnography Guidelines Purpose: In the pursuit of both cost savings and market information, Fellowes Office Productivity will be engaging in market research activities without the assistance of an outside, third- party research firm. We will be engaging in the preparation, recruiting, execution, and analysis of a variety of types of market research, including ethnography (on-site observational and interactive research with “real world” product users and purchasers). These guidelines are being established to ensure understanding of proper research techniques, and responsibilities of the Fellowes staff researchers in conducting such research. Risks: When out in the field doing research, always bear in mind that you represent Fellowes. All conduct and speech should be filtered through that consideration. When we do the recruiting and observation ourselves, we bear more of a liability burden than when the research is conducted by an outside firm. Fellowes can be held legally liable for issues that occur while you are in the process of conducting research on outside business sites. Such liability can include, but is not limited to: Protection of the outside business’ confidential information that you may learn during your observations Disciplinary action taken against an employee who participates in your research (e.g., one who accepts compensation against employer policy, or who agrees to participate without employer approval) Injuries suffered by those participating in the study (e.g. medical expenses, worker’s compensation, lost time, etc.) Property damage resulting from the observations In summary, pay close attention to what is going on around you during the observation to ensure that you are sensitive to such issues that may arise. Remember that you are a guest in their facility, and must comply with their rules and wishes. Responsibilities: Preparation Explain the purpose and protocol to the appropriate approvers in the organization to be observed. Ensure that the highest levels of that organization understand what you will be doing and how you will be doing it before the visit. Clear approval from such an executive-level manager is important. Introduce yourself to both those to be observed and those who must give their approval immediately upon arrival. Answer any questions they may have, and identify any concerns specific to your presence that you will need to address. Paperwork Consent must be given by all individuals involved in the observation and interviews. To ensure clear understanding of what they are consenting to, have each person sign a consent form explaining the purpose and methodology of the research. Confidentiality is important to both Fellowes and the company being visited. Ensure that a non-disclosure agreement is signed by everyone involved in the research, including the supervising manager that gave approval. Sensitivity Be aware of time – stick to promised times as closely as possible, whether for arrivals, length of interviews, meeting schedules, etc. Be aware of your presence – be as inconspicuous as possible; be conscious that your presence may draw attention that is undesirable for the business environment, and try to minimize distractions – it’s OK (and good) to ask questions, but not to be a nuisance. Be aware of their business needs – running their business is their priority. Pay attention to customers, work processes, phone conversations, etc., and avoid any interruptions. If anyone becomes uncomfortable with the research, honor their requests to discontinue or modify how it is being conducted to better meet the needs of their business activities. Be aware of the resources of time and effort that the business is giving to you. Express gratitude and provide appropriate compensation as has been arranged. Tips: Imperatives for successful ethnographic research: Effective observation is critical to successful ethnography. You must have an open and exploring mind. Don’t take things for granted and check your assumptions at the door. Look for the “overlookable” details When interviewing, build rapport with the person you are interviewing
    28. 28. Tools Consumer Research Permission Form
    29. 29. Recommended Resources - Books Guerrilla Marketing by Jay Conrad Levinson A good demonstration of how guerrilla principles apply to business Doing Anthropology in Consumer Research by Patricia Sutherland and Rita Denny How to apply serious academic principles to your observational skills What Customers Want by Anthony Ulwick Strong summary of outcome-driven innovation, with excellent guerrilla tools Beyond Listening by Bonnie Goebert Good primer on learning from consumers How Customers Think by Gerald Zaltman Insight into how the brain works, how decisions are made, and getting in the mind of your customers
    30. 30. Recommended Resources - Web Information on the ethics of ethnographic research Consumer product feedback sites Professional product review sites Prediction markets and Securities Trading on Concepts Information Low cost, Do-It-Yourself Surveys
    31. 31. Contact Information • • • • A complete copy of this PowerPoint presentation, including speaker’s notes, will be available for download on my website following the conference.