New ideas trigger the innovation process and the development of new products. Unfortunately; only a very small percentage of the initial ideas for new products eventually lead to commercial success. To be able to use attractive quality creation to develop innovative products; the methodology is dependent on an idea bank with ideas that are original and can create customer value. Yamada has suggested that the Kano methodology be combined with creativity techniques to enhance the generation of ideas. We suggest an alternative approach where customers are actively involved in the idea generation process to come up with new innovative ideas. Ideas that then can be used and classified by larger customer groups in a survey following the theory of attractive quality.
To work with attractive quality creation put some demands on the approach used to classify different ideas; needs; functions or attributes. For instance; some of the new approaches to the classification of quality attributes cannot be used in this process because these approaches require that the customer has tried the new features or functions of the product before completing the survey. For example; the â€˜dual-importance gridâ€™ can be used only after a prototype exists. In contrast; the traditional approach (based on pairs of customer-requirement questions) can be used in the early phases of the development of innovative products.
The purpose of our study is to investigate if and how new customer generated ideas can be used in a process of attractive quality creation. First; we involved 30 customers in the idea generation process of a company designing and producing microwave ovens. In a number of experiments these customers generated about 100 new ideas on functions; attributes and services related to microwave ovens. The 20 best ideas were identified by company specialists and these ideas were then evaluated by a large customer group using the theory of attractive quality in order to identify what ideas that posses the qualities of attractive quality. Our study shows how methods for idea generation and the theory of attractive quality can be used in co-operation in the development of new products and services. We provide the outline of a process and methodology to identify and verify brand new attractive quality attributes.
Keywords: Attractive quality creation; customer idea generation; Kano