Identify hassles to outperform competitors and generate demand

Paul Whybrow introduces the ‘Hassle Map’ and ‘Plussing’ concepts to those hoping to develop innovative products and stay one step ahead of the competition.

Paul-Whybrow-In the current climate of disruption, disruption and even more disruption, it is not surprising that those driving the products and services in the creative industries are in the constant cycle of reaction to the shiny new app or service.

At a conference recently, the CIO in the keynote summed it up so well. They admitted that they dread the words ‘have you seen the latest…?’ The dots are where you insert the newest app that the leadership admin team member or the intern has spotted over the weekend. They wholeheartedly believe it has amazing features that need to be added as rapidly as possible so your business can stay consumer relevant.

However, for businesses that have been publishing for over a century or entertaining audiences, it is understandably very hard to keep up this war for constant product change. Now even the relatively new online market leaders face the same constant catch up with the new startup fraternity.

Companies who have built their success focus solidly on creating fresh ideas that come from putting the consumer in the centre. They look to develop market changing products and services which become highly successful at creating their own demand that is well apart from the competition.

Related: Steve Sammartino says it’s time we forgot about war with our competitors and started focussing on loving our customers »

Adrian Slywotzky’s concept of realising the ‘Hassle Map’ is a way product designers look closely at consumers and map out what the key hassles are for them. The idea is to listen to your consumers to find what the hassle is and the solution. Next you look to build your new product or service around solving the hassle. This is when you become a demand creator.

Netflix, for example was able to solve the hassle of the consumer trying to remember which episode of a series they are up to when watching the whole series. Now every time you go into Netflix, it remembers and lines up the episode you were mid-way through or set up the next show. The hassle of memory failure has been fixed.

Demand creators have specific approaches that make them stand out. For example they are always ready to protect their uniqueness. They are always looking for experiments to keep their products ahead of the curve and the hassle map stakes. They are open to experiments and are not afraid to fail. You never know where the next idea will lead.

Pixar is a place that has a creative culture and has managed to create a number of successful movies.

They own the ‘Plussing’ approach where no idea is bad; it can just be added to. Each idea has the response that it is a ‘great idea, and what about if we…?’ This approach means there is total safety in team meetings to say the wildest ideas knowing that any idea will just be added to. This approach has developed a number of blockbuster movies including adventures of toys and the life of a tropical fish.

So next time you hear about the latest competitor application, stop and think. Do we tackle this with a catch up enhancement, or do we look at our consumer hassle map and create something that is brand new and will win the hearts and minds by a demand creation approach?

 

Paul Whybrow is media and entertainment industry expert at Capgemini

 

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