Identifying Latent Needs: Towards a Competence Perspective on Attractive Quality Creation
Journal article, 2013
Achieving customer delight is at the heart of the quality paradigm, acknowledging the importance of understanding latent needs. While quality researchers have been focusing on methods for classifying attributes that meet already defined requirements, the process of identifying latent needs is seldom addressed. This paper attempts to operationalize attractive quality creation in its earliest stage by focusing on how to identify latent needs. The design literature takes a different approach to understanding latent needs, interpreted by the author as a ‘competence perspective’. Inspired by the competencies attributed to designers, this paper introduces this perspective into the investigation of attractive quality creation. Drawing on the theory of attractive quality, an analytical framework is proposed for investigating how a competence perspective in general, and design competencies in particular, may contribute to the identification of latent needs. It was discovered that while design competencies related to mindset seem to play important roles for the identification of latent needs, the quality literature – and in particular the literature on customer orientation - tends to be tool-oriented and lacks focus on mindset. Although many design competencies seem useful for understanding latent needs, it is questioned whether these are linked to specific professions.
proactive customer research
attractive quality creation