Listening to one's customers is not a simple thing. The questions, the context, the objectives we have color the entire process. The article below by Steve Blank does a great job differentiating the Lean Startup approach from Design Thinking. Both approaches can lead to strong and productive customer ties, if we are aware of our objectives.
However, every listening initiative has to recognize its own agenda, which could be hidden by corporate double-talk or biases on the part of the people running the show. If we approach our customers with an open heart and view them as collaborators, we have a better chance of overcoming our biases and avoiding miscommunication.
Xconomy: Driving Corporate Innovation: Design Thinking vs. Customer Development, 2014-Jul-30 by Steve Blank
- Customer Development and Design Thinking are both customer discovery processes
- Customer Development starts with, “I have a technology/product, now who do I sell it to?”
- Design Thinking starts with, “I need to understand customer needs and iterate prototypes until I find a technology and product that satisfies this need”
- Customer Development is optimized for speed and “good enough” decision making with limited time and resources
- Design Thinking is optimized for getting it right before we make big bets