Using Maslow’s famous framework for product planning
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is one of the most well known frameworks of all time. Famously, Maslow draws the pyramid of human needs where lower layers of the pyramid represent the more basic needs (for example, physiological and safety needs) while each level above moves towards transcendence and self actualization. As the theory goes, one can only satisfy the needs at a certain level after satisfying the needs of the levels beneath it. If the lower need has not been met the person will not have the motivation, focus or capability to work on a higher need. For example, you won’t be bothered to worry about your social standing if you are starving, naked, and sick.
Appropriating Maslow’s model and applying it to something I am working on has been an interesting exercise over the years. Most recently, we did this at Varo Money to help us think differently about our product roadmap and 2018 strategy. Here’s how we thought about it in regards to our business. I think it can be applied broadly as a simple, useful framework for startups.
In large companies, innovation is a willingness not to be understood for a long period of time
Corporate innovation leaders face many challenges when attempting to get innovation programs off the ground. Peter Schwarzenbauer, chairman of BMW (a Crowd Companies member), is quoted saying, “Innovation is a willingness not to be understood for a long period of time.”
Change agents are those whose radical, innovative ideas are not internally understood — and the culture of the company resists change that could conflict with existing business models. In our research, we tested to see if technology adoption, relationship with startups, or if understanding new trends would have been a primary cause of challenges — yet over and over, we heard that internal culture was the primary issue.
Our latest research report is now available, which was focused on how large companies are internally getting ready for the many waves of technology disruption that are here now, and coming. Companies need to be ready, with a dedicated innovation program –not just knee-jerk reacting to each new set of technologies that emerges. We asked a number of companies on how they defined innovation, and heard this common pattern:
“Corporate Innovation Defined: Doing something new that solves customers needs –even if it may be in conflict with your existing business”
We’ve made a high-level partial version available to the public on slideshare, but the full report is limited to our members at Crowd Companies. Over the coming months, we will publish other insights around corporate innovation.
Time Warner Cable was far from perfect, but it will be difficult to let it rest in peace.
When it comes to spewing vitriol, hell hath no fury like an angry Time Warner Cable customer. This shouldn’t come as a surprise since it has the worst customer service score in any industry, according to a 2015 survey by ACSI. A litmus test for terrible service could be when a celebrity the likes of Sir Patrick Stewart loses the will to live, or so he conveyed on Twitter.
St. Louis, MO-based Charter Communications has recently acquired both Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks, making it a Jedi force to be reckoned with amongst cable providers, now serving more than 25 million customers. With Liberty Broadband’s backing as Charter’s main shareholder, a new vision for the industry as a whole might well be in the making. And with the players of that industry generally being poorly rated on customer satisfaction surveys, for Charter Communications that vision seems to require a break from what we know: terminating its legacy brands and forging a new one for all its consumer-facing cable operations — Spectrum.
Large, established companies are trying on various programs to foster new innovations in an attempt to find the best way to change course for their big ships.
These established companies are struggling to keep up with fast-paced, venture-backed startups that are changing customer expectations — and often causing business model disruption for traditional businesses. To combat this ever-growing threat, corporations are stepping up their investments in innovation, and deploying a variety of strategies, outlined below.