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The Dream Cafe: Lessons in the Art of Radical Innovation by Duncan D. Bruce, Dr Geoff Crook

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QQUESTIONS

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Bullshit and Hot Air

Brands that are serious about the need to engage in transformational innovation are generally able to make decisions without a constant need for verification. They don't question focus groups and seek approval at every stage.

Fast Company recently reported on two brands that tend to be referenced as benchmarks for the belief that ‘consumer insight’ is ‘all bullshit and hot air created to sell consulting projects and to give insecure managers a false sense of security.’ One of these was IKEA where ‘the unspoken philosophy is: ‘We show people the way.’ According to the article, ‘IKEA designers don't use user studies or user insights to create their products.’ They confirmed that: ‘We tried and it didn't work.’ Similarly, Apple has claimed that: ‘We don't waste our time asking users; we build our brand through creating great products we believe people will love.'38

We know that this culture of studied indifference is hard for many brand and innovation managers to believe. Those who are serially committed to consumer research make very few decisions without consulting consumer preferences. Consumer insight takes on many forms – and, depending on who is offering what version and who is buying the myriad of manifestations, purports to offer some kind of guarantee of brand reaction. The majority of insight is based on a brand manager's ability to commission ...

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