In their research Jennifer Mueller, Jeff Loewenstein and Jennifer Deal finds that customers are much more attracted to creative products than one can presume. They also uncover that managers with a how mindset underperform in recognizing creativity compared to managers with a why mindset.
The researchers asked middle managers, C-suite executives, idea generators, and other stakeholders to rate each idea on its creativity, feasibility, and profitability. Then they asked customers how desirable each idea was. The customers wanted the most-creative ideas, the team found, but not the ideas that people in the firm thought would be most profitable or feasible.
The number one predictor of whether customers wanted a product was how creative it was. And we also found evidence that customers wanted feasible ideas less because they were less creative. In other words, creativity isn’t being seen by customers as the icing on the cake; it is the cake.
They go on to suggest that companies reject creative ideas to early, on the grounds that they aren’t feasible from the outset. As compared to investing in a creative idea in order to figure out how to make it feasible. (Both Steve Jobs and Henry Ford are said to have decided on the product first and then figured out how to make it feasible).
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