For their time and efforts contributing to this paper, a debt is owed to (1) Dr. Abbie Griffin for her encouragement and thoughtful suggestions; (2) Dr. Edward F. Fern and Dr. Albert L. Page for their encouragement in this effort; (3) The American Bankers Association, and Dr. Yao and Maggie Kelly, who sponsored 2007 Bank Innovation Survey; (4) The Product Development and Management Association Research Foundation and to Thomas Hustad and Stephen K. Markham of the Foundation for granting the author access to the comparative performance assessment study data set, and to Dr. Abbie Griffin, University of Utah, and Dr. Marjorie Adams-Bigelow for their help in analyzing the data; (5) anonymous conference reviewers who made useful suggestions on earlier versions of this manuscript; and (6) an anonymous reviewer at JPIM who made valuable suggestions to improve the paper.
Flawed Tools: The Efficacy of Group Research Methods to Generate Customer Ideas†
Article first published online: 19 MAR 2012
© 2012 Product Development & Management Association
Journal of Product Innovation Management
Special Issue: The Inaugural PDMA-UIC Doctoral Consortium, Chicago, July 2011
Volume 29, Issue 3, pages 473–488, May 2012
How to Cite
Schirr, G. R. (2012), Flawed Tools: The Efficacy of Group Research Methods to Generate Customer Ideas. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 29: 473–488. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-5885.2012.00918.x
- Issue published online: 15 APR 2012
- Article first published online: 19 MAR 2012
Group customer and user research methods, brainstorming, and focus groups continue to be used in innovation efforts to uncover customer needs, generate new product and service ideas, and evaluate decisions, despite extensive empirical evidence that group methods are ineffective for such purposes. This paper summarizes the strong evidence of the ineffectiveness of group research methods for these purposes, much of which has been published outside of the new product development or business literature. The paper shows that the most common rationalization for the continued use of group methods—cost and speed advantages—are questionable, and then proposes an organizational market learning framework for evaluating the use of group methods. This framework provides guidance for the proper use of these research tools and suggests areas for future research on research methods for product innovation.