The fuzzy front end of innovation : hearing the voice of customer on credit cards
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- Student Papers 
The title “Behind the Fuzzy Front End” points to the traditionally messy getting-started period of product development, when the new product idea is still very “fuzzy”. Preceding a more formal product development process, it generally consists of three tasks: strategic planning, concept generation and pre-technical evaluation. The main aim with this thesis is to answer the research problem “What say the Voice Of Customer for a future credit card product in the Norwegian market?”, to potentially be used as input for a concept generation phase for new credit card products. This is done with the use of an explorative research design, conducted through qualitative one-to-one interviews with customers and sales personnel. The empirical study gives a theoretical and practical guide to how Voice Of Customer could be extracted. This particular research results in 194 unique customer needs related to the buyers‟ experience cycle of credit cards. In addition to finding the Voice Of Customer, two accompanying important questions are explored theoretically: (1) How could innovation influence profit growth?, and (2) How could innovative opportunities be found? The theoretical part explores central innovation and strategy related literature. Firstly, the interrelationship between innovation and competitive advantage is discussed in order to see whether, why and potentially how innovation could spur profit growth. The second question uses theories in constructing a “how-to-guide” for reaping potential innovative opportunities. Two key conclusions are derived from the literature study. Firstly, a strong relationship between innovation and competitive advantage does exist, thus profit growth is influenced by innovation. On this basis, innovation should be added as an important parameter for business strategising. Secondly, several types of innovative opportunities could be reached through conscious and systematic focus on the use of innovation as a strategic parameter. By tuning the company‟s innovation strategy and innovative processes, in addition to building a strong innovative business culture, creating a competitive edge is within reach.