Do You Understand What Customers Want And Can You Build It?

Added on by Alexander Osterwalder.

The ability to build what customers want is obviously a critically important task. In the image of this post, I roughly sketched out the intersection between customer understanding and technical ability.


One of the most critical tasks in product and service innovation is figuring out what customers really want. Yet, it’s not sufficient to understand what customers want if you don’t have the skills and assets to build it.

The green area in the image above shows the sweet spot you need to uncover. It’s what customers want, what you understand about customers, and what you’re able to build. The red area shows some untapped opportunity. Most of the red area covers what customers want, but for which you lack the technical skills to execute. Unfortunately, it’s also something you haven’t yet understood about the customer.

Product & service innovation is pretty simple: understand what customers need (and want), and build the technical skills to execute.