Sunday, August 12, 2012

Nokia Balances Experiential and Textual Learning

In recent post, I listed out 14 learning activities that Nokia performed to develop a concept for a new phone for the high-end market in North America. The project, which was conducted by Face for Nokia, demonstrated that to successfully develop a concept, the marketer should plan for many learning activities and include a wide range of activists. The characteristics of those learning activities is also important.

Generating knowledge assets is a process of converting knowledge between experience (tacit) and texts/visuals (explicit). So, the learning activities should include a balance of the two types of knowledge. Furthermore, in the innovation model the Concept stage sits in between the Needs stage and the Strategy stage, so the learning activities should also include a balance of learning on needs/values (the Need stage) and solutions/ products (the Strategy stage).

Looking at the matrix below, which plots the learning activities, Nokia's project overall was quite well balanced in terms of experiential vs. text/visuals learning, and also well balanced in terms of needs/values vs. solutions/products.

However, it is clear that one quadrant had few learning activities - that is the Experiential + Solutions/Products quadrant. So, consumers had little opportunity to live with and experience the concepts. Instead, the consumers discussed the concepts in online communities and focus groups. The risk would be that the actual solution would not fit the consumers' daily activities or that the solution simply wouldn't excite consumers. (This actually was not the case as you will see in my next post.)

Legend for the above matrix:

Y-axis shows whether the learning was focused on learning about consumer's values/ needs or the solutions/ products that Nokia was developing.
X-axis indicates whether the learning was mainly in the form of experience (imagination, engaging with others, actual doing) or texts/ visuals (including discussions about texts/ visuals).
Activities are listed according to the list in the previous post. Direct activities indicate that the main activists directly interacted (for example, in a discussion or a workshop), and indirect interactions indicate that the activists did not directly interact with the consumers (such as analysis, or collecting information online.)

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