Customer-focused Invention Design: Building a Better Product

Kevin Mako Invites Former Target VP, West Stringfellow, on The Product Startup Podcast

MAKO Design + Invent – June 3, 2021

The customer. They’re always right. They’re right because they vote with their wallet. It’s brutally simple – they either like what you’re offering or they don’t. And like with any vote, they’ll have access to other options, in your case, competitors who are offering something different. If you’re not prioritizing customer-focused invention design, then chances are, your competitors are offering something better than you. But don’t let that intimidate you. Indeed, you have an advantage here, even as a newcomer. Your competitors have publicly handed you a plethora of customer-related data through their reviews, social media, and various other channels. Inventors, take the time to communicate with your competitors’ customers and sift through the online data. Because you’ll be rewarded with information to find out what exactly your customer really cares about. This information is the cornerstone of any good product idea.

That’s how West Stringfellow rose through the ranks of Amazon, Target, Paypal, and Visa; it’s through customer-focused design. He’s one of the latest guests on Kevin’s Product Startup Podcast. Once you get to know him, you won’t meet someone as passionate as West is when it comes to prioritizing the customer. In fact, every morsel of data, every impromptu chat is an opportunity for West to build new or add to existing customer profiles and include them in the development and ideation process.

Currently, he’s the Founder and CEO of HowDo, a free, open-source innovation education platform. It’s a full course perfect for inventors who want to learn more about customer-focused invention design. The course provides innovative insights and instructions including:

  • Preparing yourself for the challenges of innovation.
  • How to build a plan.
  • Doing research on competitors and stakeholders.
  • Understanding what type of capital to get.
  • What tools are available to build a company
  • How to form a team.
Customer-focused invention design with West Stringfellow on The Product Startup Podcast.

About the Episode: Using Prospective Customers to Develop a Product

In this episode, West will teach you how to navigate conversations to help identify what your customer segments want, whether they’re saying it outright or through non-verbal cues. Learn how to frame questions to get the answers you need about your product. More specifically, West will cover three important topics to help you with customer-focused invention design:

  • Why is the customer so important in the early ideation phases?
  • What is the process of understanding the customer?
  • How that applies to creating an exceptional product and experience for the customer?

You can listen to the full episode here on your favorite listening platform: https://www.makodesign.com/podcast/077-using-prospective-customers-to-develop-a-product/

MAKO Design + Invent is the original firm providing world-class consumer product development services tailored to small businesses, startups, and inventors. Simply put, we are the leading one-stop-shop for developing your physical product from idea to store shelves, all in a high-quality, cost-effective, and timely manner. We operate as one powerhouse 30-person product design team spread across 4 offices to serve you (Austin, Miami, San Francisco, & Toronto). We have full-stack in-house industrial design, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, patent referral, prototyping, and manufacturing services. To assist our startup and inventor clients, in addition to above, we help with business strategy, product strategy, marketing, and sales/distribution for all consumer product categories. Also, our founder Kevin Mako hosts The Product Startup Podcast, the industry’s leading hardware podcast. Check it out for tips, interviews, and best practices for hardware startups, inventors, and product developers. Feel free to Contact Us anytime for help with your project.

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