Exploiting Chaos

150 Ways to Spark Innovation During Times of Change

150 Ways to Spark Innovation During Times of Change - an award-winning business innovation book by Jeremy Gutsche, CEO of Trend Hunter

Issue link: http://book.trendhunter.com/i/42053

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Page 119 of 273

CULTURE OF REVOLUTION · Customer Obsession Get uncomfortable BY 2007 GM WAS STRUGGLING with an economic crisis and sky- rocketing fuel prices. The Escalade was still the heavyweight champ, but people were shiſting away from gas-guzzling suvs. Had GM obsessed about the wrong customer? In some ways, yes. The writing was on the wall long ago about the looming oil crisis. When you obsess about a customer, you are making a choice. More importantly, when you establish a cultural connection with one group, you might be alienating others. 118 In this case, GM realized that its gas-guzzling suvs pushed the company far away from females and eco-conscious buyers. As a result, GM decided to develop a smaller, eco-friendly car targeted toward urban females. To better understand this demographic, the designers literally put them- selves in the shoes of their female customers. Male engineers were re- quired to dress in drag and then get into and out of raised trucks and suvs to understand what it's like for women wearing dresses. Experiments like this likely helped design cars like the Chevy Volt, a break- through eco-concept set to impress females. GM still has many challenges to overcome, but the methodology serves an important lesson: Making yourself uncomfortable can lead to important insights about new markets.

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