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Market Sensing Fast-Service™ Package

“If we select the pmNERDS' Fast-Service™ package, then we get rapid performance improvement, but we’ll need to answer questions and feedback.”

We all occasionally get major hankerings, it’s usually something that we can’t wait for and need within a very short period of time. For us it is usually food related, the Fast Food Industry utilizes the notion of standardization to produce food at minimal cost and preparation time while maximizing value within their business constraints. The question is can they make a compelling product while being profitable?

At pmNERDS, that’s our goal with these Fast-Service™ packages. Using product templates, standardized processes, and focused training we’re able to deliver consulting products faster than our clients and competitors, with sustainable margins.

Very few of us look forward to overly complex Market Sensing processes. We want it to be easier and faster, so process performance in this area looks rather attractive, but what area should be addressed first?

Using some rapid assessment techniques, the Performance Measure Framework, and our performance constraint analysis tool, we help you identify that practice that is holding you back. Then we will propose modifications or creation of a new practice that addresses your specific constraint. This is not about investing lots of time to do it yourself, or just going without, we are offering a third choice…

Our clients hire us do some of the data collection, constraint analysis, process documentation, and change management activities that are part of effective Market Sensing performance improvement practices. With only a total of 8 hrs. of your time, spread out in 8 sessions over 4 weeks, we complete the analysis and build the necessary deliverables to adopt a new practice, that will improve your Market Sensing performance. All of this is accomplished within 20 business days.

We’re experts in performance improvement and Market Sensing practices, you know your business and organization. By using our Fast-Service™ package, you can leave the specialized practices to us, and focus on running your business.

Below is a set of Fast-Service™ package deliverables used to improve your Market Sensing performance.

SELF-ASSESSMENT REPORT- This is an Excel spreadsheet and chart that is used to identify the major problem areas and bottlenecks of the organizations’ innovation process. The Self-Assessment contains a series of questions related to current practices for gathering ideas, converting ideas into business opportunities, and finally diffusing ideas throughout organization and to market. Using the self-assessment, we can quickly identify the perceived system constraints, and dive deeper into specific process areas that could be causing bottlenecks.

CONSTRAINT ANALYSIS REPORT- This is a set of Power Point diagrams used to identify key system constraints. We use Sufficient Cause diagrams to look at effects and potential causes from the perspective of Resources, Inputs, Controls, and Processes. These diagrams are used to verify effects, validate relationships between causes and effects, and look for additional effects to gain a clear understanding of the current system constraints.

PERFORMANCE MEASURE FRAMEWORK- This is a set of Excel spreadsheets and Power Point diagrams used to manage process improvement. Focusing on 1 of the 16 domains, we will load the selected practice into the Performance Measure Framework. By adding your standardized plans and information assets, such as process diagrams and performance thresholds, into the framework, you can do trade-offs and make process improvement decisions.

PROPOSED PRACTICE EFBD- This is a set of Power Point diagrams used to establish a process definition. The EFBD (Enhanced Function Block Diagram) Illustrates control logic, information flow, and process steps. We build this by looking at past project plans and documenting the current state. Based on constraint analysis, we can make modifications to the EFBD of the practice. We do this with things such as review gates, control activities, additional input screening, and resources inputs. This EFBD standardizes the practice and makes the proposed practice easier to understand, adopt, as well as improve over time.

NEW PRACTICE POLICIES & PROCEDURES- This is a set of Word documents that are used to outline process policies and procedures that enable standardization and improvement. Policies and procedures establish a standard set of minimum expectations and guidelines that are expected to be followed by anyone performing the practice. We create a new baseline of process performance, based on the constraint analysis and EFBD process analysis, by adding policies, process steps or procedural guidelines. This information is used to train people on new process, and monitor process execution and performance.

BUSINESS CASE- This is an Excel spreadsheet that is used to analyze, establish and communicate the business case of implementing the proposed practice change. When change is desired, the value delivered through the change must outweigh the negative impacts, cost, and natural friction that change will cause. All business cases derive from the ability to impact one of the six business drivers: Revenue, Efficiency, Sustainability, Endorsement, Cost and Risk. We will then define the type of value proposition that the new practice will deliver: uniqueness, familiarity, or economy of scale. Lastly, we determine the Cost/Value combination. This process will achieve same value for less cost, or more value for less cost, etc. The business case is used to overcome change hurdles and help people to quickly adopted the proposed change. 

PERFORMANCE SCORECARD- This is an Excel spreadsheet that is used to measure practice performance and drive improvement. The performance scorecard is built from information captured in the Performance Measure Framework. Using the five key performance measures, you can diagnose causes of performance constraints and identify process adjustments to address them. The Performance Scorecard will keep people focused on the key measures that impact overall performance, making improvement efforts more effective.

STRATEGY DIAGRAM- This is a Power Point diagram that is used to communicate the strategic intent of the performance improvement initiative.  The strategy diagram sets a common vision and outlines how different teams/roles work together to perform the key activities needed to deliver the value of the initiative. The strategy diagram helps team members to understand their role, adopt the proposed changes, and buy-in to the initiative solution vision.

COMMUNICATION PLAN- This is an Excel spreadsheet that is used to communicate to and engage all stakeholders and team members of a project. A Communication Plan will identify the target personas and actions that you want them to take, anticipate potential objections, and provide a message that addresses the objections and provokes action. We will develop a communication plan that identifies target stakeholders, develops compelling messages that engage them to act towards the achievement of project objectives.

ROLE BASED TRAINING DIAGRAM- This is a set of Power Point diagrams that are used to identify training needs of job roles. These roles based training diagrams provide standardized capabilities, job role expectations, and training demand analysis by process. These diagrams are used to create training and adoption activities for each role as part of the new practice deployment. Each Role can clearly understand their roles & responsibilities regarding the new practice. This means the activities will get done more efficiently with better performance results. 

PERFORMANCE IMPROVEMENT MILESTONE ROADMAP- This is a Power Point diagram that is used to communicate the performance improvement efforts of the organization over time. Based on the performance constraints, this roadmap identifies the sequence of performance improvements as well as the target process areas. The Performance Improvement Milestone Roadmap will align team members, resources, and efforts to provide the most rapid performance improvement for the organization.

Want to learn more? Contact us either through email or phone.

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Market Sensing with ‘DANCE’ Process-Services™

“Market Sensing with DANCE is a process consulting offering of pmNERDS. This offering provides a process umbrella of DANCE, and then line-items of an S.O.W. that can be chosen a la carte.”

We use the acronym DANCE to illustrate and teach the concepts necessary to nurture the relationship between the market or client and the product innovation team. A dance is made up of regular turnings and movements, which your partner can follow and participate in. The product innovation lifecycle is a dance between the product innovation team and the market; starting with discovering needs through launching a product, and then gathering feedback on the product to start the next iteration. Customers must understand their role and be able to anticipate the market sensing activities for both partners to have an enjoyable and valuable DANCE experience.

During our process consultancy, we address:

Differentiation– Increase your perceived value by impacting your client’s value chain. Address how you can make your client’s product and/or services more attractive to the market than any of your other competitors.

Anticipation– Help your market anticipate what your trying to do with your products and/or services through information gathering activities. Anticipate the market’s wants and needs. Build anticipation in your launches.

Nudge– Market sensing activities can nudge markets into desired/undesired behaviors. Plan ahead for the desired reaction to sensing activities. Market sensing is for more than information gathering.

Cost-Position– The amount it costs to take products to the market, compared to what it costs your competitor’s is critical. Understand your cost-position with market sensing.

Echo Chamber– Don’t listen your own marketing, and believe it’s the voice of the custom.

The pmNERDS process consultancy provides a standard Market Sensing capability described by the acronym above. This is an umbrella capability needed regardless of any additional practices selected from our a la carte practice menu.

Market Sensing practices available for selection from the a la carte S.O.W. include Customer Visits, Market Segmentation, Creativity Events, Kano Analysis, Personas, Win/Los Reports, SWOT Analysis, Benchmark Analysis, Driving Force Analysis, Processing Enhancement Requests, Customer Surveys, Net Promoter Scores, Lead-User Analysis, and Voice of Customer.

Organizations that depend on projects to create value and increase process efficiencies, as seen in business units such as IT, Marketing, and NPD, should talk with us if they’re interested in increasing project performance.

After a quick discussion, we can direct you to the best process offering and a la carte practices based on your process improvement goals. By putting together a service package that addresses your key performance constraint, our sales team can help you get the quickest time-to-value, while minimizing risk and cost.

Want to learn more? Contact us either through email or phone.

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Market Sensing Performance-Service™

“If we engage pmNERDS’ Consulting for Market Sensing then we’ll increase the organization’s competitive advantage, realize higher value from projects, and complete projects more efficiently, but it will require change leadership.”

Our Performance-Service™ consulting practice begins with gathering information about your organization and engagement goals. We conduct a quick gap analysis to construct an engagement roadmap.

Once approved, we will build this roadmap out into a complete project plan and review it with our clients going over roles and responsibilities. We schedule weekly meetings to review the project and discuss relevant decisions. Depending on the length of engagement, steering committee meetings are also scheduled.

Daily scrums are scheduled to address issues and schedule any needed ad hoc meetings. Performance Improvement Consulting involves a great deal of planning and communicating. Underlying each practice is an element of process improvement and use of a standard performance measure framework.

The benefits of market sensing are gained from the comprehension of the targeted market and ability to anticipate market trends, the innovation and discovery of hidden needs, the product insights gained through the analysis process, and the sense of co-ownership and loyalty the customers gain. Through this engagement, your Innovation team can deduce meaning and direction from the market contradictions and noise.

With Market Sensing activities, you can increase customer loyalty and your offering’s competitiveness through a successful evidence gathering program that manages the complete lifecycle of market evidence (one of the primary information assets). This capability also helps identify new market opportunities by gaining an understanding of your customer needs, rather than just blindly processing ideas.

It’s critical that the information assets developed within these market sensing practices can flow to downstream innovation processes. These practices can be divided into the two categories of Market Evidence Gathering and Evidence Triaging. Where ever your key constraints are, our team will help you identify the process constraints, and find practices that will improve overall performance by breaking constraints.

By leveraging our experience, you can reach expected benefits quicker and with less false starts while being assured that you won’t paint yourself into a ‘process’ corner, and isolate information asset flow to downstream processes.

Our performance improvement consulting practice requires a discussion to determine goals, the scope of effort, consultant alignment, and the development of a business proposal. We deliver an analysis of current market sensing definition process performance and constraints, a roadmap to performance improvement, process design, process exercise, process enablement, deployment, and measurement.

A large part of this effort is process training, skills mentoring, and performance coaching. Depending on the engagement, technology configuration or deployment may or may not be part of this effort. You can discover more about this service offering by clicking the icon (email or phone) in the top right corner of our website.

We’d love to explain our services and answer any questions you might have.

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Market Sensing: Customer Satisfaction

“If I gather market sensing information with the concept of customer satisfaction, then I understand the market’s perception of my product, but I am not sure how to gather such information.”

The motto “the customer is always right” was popularized by highly successful retailers like Marshall Field in the early twentieth century. They advocated that customer complaints should be treated seriously even if they can sometimes be dishonest, unrealistic, and/or greedy. This concept did not seem to have too many benefits for the business owners, so why? What did these men really get out of it?

Customer satisfaction is one of the three groups for gathering evidence to determine your sense of the market. Market sensing helps to discover your competitors within the market, the market forces and behavior, and the market’s perception of you. Customer satisfaction is largely the latter. It measures how products or services supplied by a company, meet or surpass a customer’s expectation.

The point is to gather honest information from your customers about their feelings on your product. Some of the customer satisfaction techniques include the following:

  1. Enhancement Requests: The users provide noteworthy improvements after reviewing the product or services.
  2. Customer Surveys: This method is all about constructing surveys and selecting respondents for specific targeted market segments.
  3. Net Promoter Score: This is an approach to measuring and quantifying the level of your customers’ satisfaction. It involves a quick questionnaire, that gathers a small amount of data to monitor your customer standing.
  4. Lead User Analysis: This approach engages your users in testing and evaluating new products and services by bringing them in early during the development process.
  5. Voice of Customer: This method helps teams balance the customers’ voice with their expertise.
  6. Sales Force Inputs: This method leverages the Sales Force to gain insight and direction for increasing customer satisfaction, including modifying the sales process.
  7. Employee and Business Units: Use those closest to the work to gather market evidence and ideas for customer satisfaction.
  8. Creativity Events: This method leverages many different disciplines for creating high-performance teams, and driving them towards solutions of specific market needs to produce an enhanced innovation process.
  9. Beta Trials: This method encompasses many varieties of pre-launch activities leveraging customer/user engagement to test the product.
  10. Defect and Issue Tracking: Tracking the defects and issues to leverage for use in customer satisfaction initiatives.

Marshall Fields and company understood that the customer is always worth listening to, and therefore always right, because knowing the customer’s expectations provided them with a metric that they can use to manage and improve their businesses. Customer satisfaction is a point of differentiation in the market, it provides indicators for customer intentions, it increases customer lifetime value, and reduces negative word of mouth.

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Market Sensing: Competitive Analysis

“If I do successful competitive analysis, then I understand myself, the competition, an acceptable price, and the correct positioning, but I am not sure of the techniques for gathering the correct information.”

Competition in any form always seems to bring out everyone’s inner Ninja, and at least for me with Ninjas, comes Sun Tzu.

Regarding competitive analysis, it is vital to remember at least two of Sun Tzu's more famous teachings:

-To know your competitor, you must become your competitor.

-If you know the competitor and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the competitor, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the competitor nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.

OK, so maybe it was an enemy, but competitor fits this situation a lot more…

To digress, competitive analysis is part of market sensing. Market sensing helps develop a relationship of understanding with the targeted external market. This includes your competitors within the market, the market forces and behavior, and the market’s perception of you. That is a rather large deliverable, specially sense it is unique in every situation. The practice of market sensing incorporates many different information gathering techniques that can be sorted into three distinct groupings; market analysis, customer satisfaction, and competitive analysis. Competitive analysis being the method that helps to determine the acceptable price and positioning.

Like Sun Tzu stated, war like competitive analysis, is all about understanding yourself (or in this case your product) as well as its place in relation to the competition. The idea is to keep close tabs on your competition and stay ahead of the curve, like a Ninja. Comparing yourself to others is not about assimilation, Sun Tzu is not suggesting becoming something you are not, you want to be unique, but to be both exceptional and successful, you need to know what you are up against. Knowledge is power.

There are all sorts of software out there for the competition analyst, but the information gathering techniques behind such tools remains relatively stagnate. The more readily used are as follows:

  1. Win Loss Reports: A sales report that provides insight into why a business opportunity was lost or gained. What did the competition have or not have?
  2. SWOT Analysis: Typically used throughout new product development, this method is determining if the enterprise and market is ready by understanding your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
  3. Benchmark Analysis: This measures the quality, time, and cost of a practice or performance metric to others to identify gaps in the organizational processes.
  4. Driving Force Analysis: Identifying the current trends and key forces in the market place to provide insight into future product and service offerings.
  5. Fundamental Competitor Research: Determining the market size, value, and demand to compare to other market segments, so that better product and planning decisions can be made.
  6. Sales Force Reports: Leverage the market information coming into the sales division to make better development decisions.
  7. Partners, Alliances, Suppliers, Distributors: Use your partners as a source of competitive information.

To be a Sun Tzu Ninja, you need, above all else, to understand your product and know who the true competition is. From that point, you can use techniques to determine what works, their strategy, and then position yourself accordingly. Competitive analysis is an asset to any Enterprise, because it can be a source of inspiration for new ideas, new directions, and confirm or help to improve some of your business practices. So be the ninja of your market segment!

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Market Sensing: Market/Client Analysis

“If I want to release a new product or service, then I need to do some market sensing, but I don’t understand what it means to understand the past, present, and future market needs, opportunities, risks, and demand for an offering.”

Do you remember a truly awful new product hitting the market? I am not talking about something that did not work, more like something that you can’t imagine anyone buying and you strongly question how it made it into stores. Well, it most likely made it so far because, the company that created it didn’t spend enough time or effort on market sensing activities. One such product from my childhood was Orbitz soda. It looked super cool. The drinks were modeled to looked like little orange, red, and white lava lamps. I was so excited when I saw them at the store for the first time, but then I tried it… not good. It tasted like sealed plastic cough syrup. The aesthetics were perfectly on par, but Orbitz soda must have completely skipped the taste test. I, by no means, had good taste at six, but that does not mean I was willing to ever swallow plastic cough syrup again, and it seems neither was any other kid.

Market Sensing is an allusive beast for many big and small corporations. It is even a little bit of a stretch to ever expect to be able to say it out loud and everyone know what you’re talking about. I normally get blank stares, but it is an important topic. Market sensing are activities in analyzing and gathering past, present, and future market intelligence on the needs, opportunities, risks, and demand for a new product. These activities are the Salesperson's Win/Loss Reports, the customer services’ processed Enhancement Requests, the marketing offices’ Marketing analysis, and many more.

Market sensing is about developing a relationship of understanding with the targeted external market. This includes your competitors within the market, the market forces and behavior, and the market’s perception of you. Some might put this concept in a little box and call it market research, but market research is one of three main categories within market sensing; market analysis, competitive analysis, and customer satisfaction. Market Sensing is not just interview questionnaires, or feedback forms, but trend analysis, tracking defects/issues, as well as studying the competition.

You want that kid to not only buy that lava lamp like soda, but forget all others, and come back for another one. A company is doing market sensing when they conduct exclusive events for customers, develop a community for suggestions as well as feedback, and when they prove that they are committed to fulfill the customers’ requirements, but this is difficult to do successfully.

Before you can increase your competitive advantage with market sensing, you need to understand the five important concepts that form the acronym D.A.N.C.E.. pmNERDS has a whole course on Market Sensing, but before anymore can be said, market sensing is not a one-man job, you need many different advocates with different points of view… this is a team sport.

D is for Differentiation: You need to impact customers' margins by making the client or customer look good.

A is for Anticipation: Plan to set the bi-directional expectations for your audience and don’t forget to give them increasingly more reason to continue watching.

N is for Nudging: You should plan the desired reaction of activities and leave them wanting more from you in the future.

C is for Cost-Position: Be aware of your cost, time, and effort in relation to the competition. Understanding your position roughly compared to others before hand is imperative to success.

E is for Echo Chamber: Finally, don’t listen to yourself, success means that the idea you sent out comes back to the you from another source.

Market sensing allows you to increase customer loyalty as well as your competitive offerings by successfully building a process to gather and manage the life-cycle of market evidence. Understanding this capability ensures that you won’t have an issue identifying new market opportunities, because you obtained an understanding of your customer needs, rather than just blindly processing ideas. Remember no one wants to drink plastic cough syrup again, so start deducing the meaning and direction from market contradictions and noise as you process various forms of market evidence. 

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Asset Development

“If I create innovation assets, then I can be monetized for my efforts, but I don’t know how to build assets.”

Information Assets such as market evidence, problem statements, business plans, features, roadmaps, requirements, and product launches are developed, and depending on which assets are used, will produce a very different product.

When addressing the development of Innovation Assets, one of the first questions I’m asked is, “Where do I start?” In a different blog posting, I can share a self-assessment and worksheet that will point you in the right direction. It will identify if you are experiencing ideation constraints, conversion constraints, or diffusion constraints; and point you to the correct assets to strengthen your process.

For now, let me explain the overall concept. The diagram above represents an information and asset flow pipeline. When clean, things flow through the pipeline without obstruction or constraint. The throughput of the pipeline (# information packets/time) is optimal.

When pipeline sludge builds up in terms of Ideation, Conversion, or Diffusion constraints, the pipeline throughput is lowered. The game is to identify the constraints, and then deploy processes that will break the constraint and develop the specific asset more competitively.

Now, it turns out that there are hundreds of ways to build any one asset, and depending on your constraints, one method is better than another. So yes, learning how to do market sensing from one of our courses will help, but gaining insight into what will improve your pipeline’s performance requires a little thought and a self-assessment.

You can learn anyone of these methods for Market Sensing, but selecting which one is the trick. If you’re learning it to improve the performance of your internal Pipeline, then you will want to focus on your performance constraints. If you are developing new market evidence assets to sell in GrandView, then you should do some market sensing, and anticipate the market demand, know how to satisfy your targeted market, and do a little competitive analysis.

Now that you know what type of asset you want to develop, and you know what for, you’re in position to get real value out of taking a course in Market Sensing, or from any of the other pillars.

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