Project Case Studies
 

Housing Association - Housing Innovation Opportunity Identification

My client was a nationwide association representing a varied group of players in the housing industry, including developers, homebuilders, building product manufacturers, architects, lenders, construction tech companies, and more.

For their annual summit, the association wanted to educate its members and other summit attendees regarding data-driven innovation opportunities in the housing space.

Although other homeowner studies had been done, none of them provided objective and quantified customer needs to substantiate and de-risk innovation.

Using my Engineerovation™ process, I performed a study of the jobs that housing dwellers "hire" their homes to help them accomplish. Then, via a quantitative survey and statistical analysis, I determined which of those jobs were unmet.

The result was a prioritized list of previously-unknown, statistically-validated, and invaluable innovation opportunities for solution providers in the space.

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Landscape Nursery - Services and Business Model Innovation

This mid-size nursery had an established customer base of commercial and residential landscapers. However, my client had noticed that landscaping companies have an abnormally low survival rate due to low barriers to entry and poor support.

In order to offer more value to their established customers, as well as to "grow" additional healthy customers, they envisioned offering business support services to help landscapers to survive and thrive, thus expanding my client's pool of healthy, growing, and loyal customers.

The problem was, they had no idea what services to offer. They had gotten some vague feedback from the market, but they didn't know what was a real opportunity and what was just noise.

I employed my Engineerovation™ process of Jobs-To-Be-Done innovation in multiple phases to identify, quantify, and validate the actual service innovation opportunities in the market. I then worked with the client to develop service concepts and a go-to-market plan for implementation based on the resultant data model.

The result was a cohesive services platform that will enable the client to quickly, cheaply, and confidently offer a unique high-value service to its customers that can be readily scaled nation-wide, exponentially expanding my client's geographic reach and growth potential.

Offsite Construction - Process Optimization

This consortium of over 20 modular manufacturing facilities was looking to maximize the efficiency of their overall business process - from lead generation to project completion.

They had been using a legacy process that was not optimized for maximum efficiency and was not sufficient to manage their complex construction projects across its broad manufacturing base.

Applying the Lean Six Sigma principle of Process Mapping, with in-depth qualitative interviews with sub-process owners, I studied the entire process end-to-end and developed a comprehensive process map, including inputs, outputs, dependencies, sub-process timing, and more, to give maximum visibility to the current state.

I then analyzed the process to identify bottlenecks, critical junctions, and improvement opportunities. With this information, I designed an optimized version of the process map.

The result was a streamlined and compressed process that reduced the overall Business Development process time (Lead to Win) by over 80 percent.

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Building Products - Customer Needs Identification

This exterior building products company was looking for their "next big thing." Their flagship products had done well but were aging and losing market share to competitors. The client needed to find the next cash cow for the business.

 

Up to that point, building product manufacturers had largely ignored the modular (offsite) manufacturing segment, since it represented such a small market share of total construction starts. However, based on my knowledge of the industry and its huge growth potential, I proposed we explore this largely untapped and underserved customer segment.

 

We targeted the job of "protecting a building from water intrusion," as this was a product area where the client was particularly keen to innovate. By implementing in-depth qualitative JTBD & Engineerovation™ research, I uncovered nearly 50 specific, objective, and actionable customer-validated needs associated with the job of protecting a building from water intrusion in a factory environment. 

 

Although the client had been in business for many decades and had literally hundreds of theories on what their customer needs were, several of the needs I uncovered were previously completely unknown to them and created opportunities for multiple new-to-the-industry innovations.

Heavy Equipment Controls - Innovation Strategy Development

This leading manufacturer of controls and systems for heavy equipment needed to understand the market of heavy equipment fleet managers trying to optimize fleet utilization.

 

My team and I applied Jobs-To-Be Done innovation principles and Outcome-Driven Innovation™ to clearly define the job, which ended up being defined differently by the customers than it was thought to be by the client.

 

Next, we utilized a scientific process to qualitatively identify all the customer needs associated with the job and create objective, clear statements to express them without confusion.

 

We then implemented statistical analysis to identify the unmet needs and quantify the levels to which they were unmet, uncovering the true innovation opportunities in the market.

We identified more than 100 critical customer needs, 30 of which were unmet.

 

Finally, we synthesized and analyzed the data to develop a comprehensive and actionable innovation strategy, complete with recommendations for marketing, product improvement, and new product development.

Industrialized Construction - Business Model Development and Validation

I the early years of the "modular manufacturing reawakening" several years ago, my partners and I were approached by a major overseas automotive manufacturer.

 

They believed that by applying their significant manufacturing prowess to the building of affordable homes, they could disrupt the US construction market and help address the country's significant affordable housing crisis with high-performance, widely accessible housing.

We conducted exhaustive research into the US industrialized construction industry. Based on this research and our extensive industry experience, we developed and evaluated multiple innovative business models by which the client could enter the market.

 

Through deeper research and analysis in Phase II, we identified 3 recommended models that would result in maximum ROI and market penetration for the client.

Although economic forces prevented the immediate implementation of our recommendations, the client lauded not only the innovativeness but the actionable practicality of the solutions we proposed.

Building Products - New Product and Strategy Development

With the broadest product line in the industry, my client, a multi-billion-dollar building product manufacturer, saw an opportunity to be first to market with an integrated wall system solution.


I headed up a cross-functional innovation team made up of product, R&D, and Marketing leaders from three client business units.

As the team lead, I worked with dozens of innovation team members and other stakeholders. I conducted extensive market and customer research to uncover the unique needs in the market of home builders trying to sell high-performance homes to their homebuyers.

Based on the data gathered, I drove the ideation, design, and development of a first-of-its-kind platform-level wall system, along with marketing, branding, messaging, go-to-market, and distribution strategies. The innovation gleaned an industry-first single-source contract worth $6 million in its first year of launch.

Tax Preparation Software - Innovation Strategy Development and Implementation

The goal of this industry-leading maker of tax preparation software was to further penetrate the market for tax professionals preparing and filing tax returns, so they could leapfrog the competition by more effectively meeting the needs of these demanding customers.

 

I played a key role in the market and job definition, qualitative needs gathering, and quantitative opportunity identification.

 

The data revealed three very distinct segments of customers, with different areas of unmet needs. These results provided critical justification for a drastic change in corporate innovative direction.

 

The innovation strategy we developed and recommended also made feature development and segment targeting very straightforward for the client.

Heavy Equipment - Innovation Strategy Development

My client, a major manufacturer of heavy equipment, was looking for ways to improve their products and potentially disrupt the market for equipment operators moving materials around a construction site.


I led a team in conducting detailed qualitative customer research, including interviews with many customers, to map the job-to-be-done and the associated needs, uncovering more than 100 such needs.


We then developed and issued a comprehensive survey of over 250 customers regarding the uncovered needs from the qualitative stage.  


Through a statistical analysis of the quantitative data, we identified around 30 needs that were underserved, with nearly as many that were overserved. This presented opportunities to the client for product improvement, new product development and cost reduction.

Automotive Dealership Management Software - Innovation Strategy Development and Implementation

My client, a leader in automotive dealership management software, was getting outflanked by their competition, and they suspected their accounting module was the problem.


My team and I conducted a full Jobs-To-Be-Done (JTBD) Outcome-Driven Innovation™ process with them, including market identification, job mapping, needs gathering, opportunity quantification, strategy development, and implementation.


The result was three hyper-focused feature concepts that were highly targeted to the highest-opportunity needs in the market, as illustrated by the research data.