• LinkedIn
  • YouTube
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google+

Weigh 4 factors to wow buyers

Get PDF file

by on
in Best-Practices Leadership,Leaders & Managers

At many large corporations, innovation starts with consumer engagement. Researchers survey customers to learn what they want, draw conclusions and share their findings.

Alberto Alessi takes a different approach. He’s the 70-year-old CEO of Alessi, an Italian design firm that makes a range of household products.

In the 1990s, Alessi analyzed the 300 projects he had led up to that point in his career. His goal was to identify what elements contributed to his most successful innovations. He isolated four:

1. Public reaction. The boldest innovative breakthroughs aroused people’s senses and sparked their imagination.

2. Perceived image. Alessi realized that his biggest successes communicated certain values and personality. Consumers expressed their status to others by purchasing and displaying his product. “Because people freely choose certain objects from the ones they come across, they tend to charge them with social meaning,” he says.

3. Function. He considered the purpose and use of the product—and how consumers valued that function.

4. Price. The cost affected consumer behavior and enhanced the perceived significance of the innovation.

Weighing these criteria, Alessi devised a formula to score proposed products to determine their viability. The outcome has helped him calibrate his risk in investing in prototypes for new products.

— Adapted from “Cultivating innovation,” Maria Capozzi & Josselyn Simpson, www.mckinsey.com.

Leave a Comment