Sunday, October 10, 2010

What's important: in a (consumer) value theory of innovation





A Phd needs an academic contribution. The 'so what' was that research all about. Why was that research worth doing?

This post reprioritises the (consumer) value model. The Value Model focuses on the consumer aspect of Innovation: what do consumers value in a new technology?



What's Important with consumer value:

1. Consumers intimately describe value (meanings and practices) in connection with their actions (buying without waiting; waiting). Consumers' problem solving actions protect their existing value, while value reconfiguring (buying, exploring, comparing) seeks to grow new value. Consumers express their emotional response to value far more than any goals they might have, which are almost completely absent in descriptions of their experience.

2. Loss of value is a stronger drive to action (problem solving) than value.

3. Value actions include value practices: individual - exploring; comparing; filtering/closing; social - observing; inquiring; recommending; value consequences - buying; using; waiting.

4. Loss of Value actions (problem solving) include: seeking seller (innovator, telco) assistance; seeking alternatives; closing; doing nothing.

5. Pre purchase Value meanings include: connecting; bargain hunting; novelty; power, beauty, duty. Post purchase Value meanings include: service, reliability, simplicity. Underlying Value meanings include: function, need, emotion and time.

6. Consumers express Value memories as attitude; "brilliant", "fabulous", "amazed", "fantastic"; "happy", "better", "good", "prefer"; "problems", "don't want", "annoy", "dislike"; "total crap", "pissed off", "shits me", "totally unsatisfied". Attitude is positive or negative, strong or weak. Attitudes attach to (value meanings in and overall to) a value object. Simple valuing, where one thing is better than another in all aspects, is rational. Where one thing is compared to another thing; the first better in some ways, the second better in other ways, then valuing is complex.

7. Value meanings (and their creation) interact with and reconstruct Value practices (collecting and sorting value information). The interaction makes value dynamic, constructionist, complex (multi-meanings) and paradoxical (different meanings pull us to different actions).

8. Valuing takes place as a series of value conversations: social, individual and telco (innovator, promoter, contextual), so value is socially constructed and experiential.

9. Valuing continues pre and post purchase, so value is iterative and dynamic. I call this the Value phases.

Limits:
The Value Model is based on interviews of consumers about their 3G mobile phones. I asked consumers:
-how did you come to have your 3G mobile phone? how do you find it now you have got it?
-is there anything you would change? how do you find the telco?
-what does your 3G mobile phone mean to you?
The grounded theory methodology assumes a world in constant motion, where consumers' actions are based on the meanings they make out of their experiences in the world. This type of research is called interpretive, as I interpret the meanings consumers make, and as such is not generalisable in the way statistical research is.

The Value Model is complex but close to and grounded in consumer experience with 3G mobile phones.

Comparing:
The Value Model has been compared to the major innovation literature theories of technology adoption (diffusion of innovation) and major consumer value literature (see below)

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