Translation Step 2 - Capability

A quick recap:  This is the second of the three things necessary to translate consumer insight into a successful product or service.  I've been talking about the necessity of understanding consumer motivations in order to develop offerings they will buy.  Since then, it has become clear to me that the best consumer learning, positioning, and criteria definition will not matter if your company lacks the ability to translate these directions into viable products and services.  All too often, the products and services that get developed are disconnected from the consumer that originally inspired them.

The first part of translating is awareness.  Are your people aware of the connection between what they are doing and how it relates to satisfying a consumer's needs?  Do they see their work as a job to get done, or as a lever in catching the attention of the person who will buy it?

The second element of translation is capability.  Let's say the people in your company are aware of their ability to influence the end product in a way that meets consumer needs.  They know how to manipulate design elements and influence usability to evoke the desired responses from consumers.  Knowing how is one thing, but can they actually DO it? 

Several things can get between knowing what to do, and having the capability to do it.  Do your people have enough time or money to make the right things happen?  Do they have the right skill set to actually deliver?  Some companies have a "check box" approach to the skill set question.  Do we have an engineer assigned to this project?  Check.  Do we have a marketing person assigned to this project?  Check.  Do we have a designer assigned to this project?  Check.    But who is asking "Do we have the RIGHT engineer, marketer or designer on this project?"  Precious few.

Think about the challenges you are presenting to the people in your company.  Which is harder work for them.  Developing offerings that will delight consumers, or developing offerings they know will work and can get through the system?