Like many companies that have been around a while, their R&D/product development department was a stand-alone group that operated in their own sort of ivory tower, bouncing bowling balls on mattresses, and such. But the design thinking process approach they used with their Stearns and Foster problem called for a new way of working.
So, with the help of IDEO, engineers from Sealy’s headquarters were sent out with sales and marketing people to visit retailers in New York, Atlanta and Chicago. They spoke to customers, interviewed retail sales clerks and they studied their competitors’ products not through the eyes of the technicians in the R&D facility, but through the eyes of the sales people who were talking to live buying customers on a daily basis.
The results? Since the newly designed products were launched at the end of last year, they broke all previous sales records for the product line. From this success, the author outlines four lessons learned:
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