I have been developing products for over 30 years. All companies chant, “Customers first—focus on the customers and know what they want.” Nowadays, it is very common for companies to conduct customer research. However, it is not easy to truly understand the needs of the customers. Research results, at its best, will give a picture of the current situation. Most of the results are about the past, never about the future. What we want to know, is the mental model of the customers—how does each individual customer feel and behave?
It is crucial to research the market, competition, and customers. However, if a company continues to duplicate products simply based on logic, the market will be filled with similar, ordinary products, or worse, the brand can lose its original value and essence. Customers do not choose things or experiences based on logic alone; therefore, emotions must increasingly be taken into account.
If you can realize something beyond customers’ imagination, they will become your fans. I would be delighted if I can help you to accomplish that.
Areas of expertise:
- Project management
- Product and service development
- Innovation system creation
- Global organization facilitation
- Talent development
- Customer research
- Research method development
Hiroaki Shikata was born in 1959, in Kyoto, Japan. After graduating from Kobe University, he started working for Proctor & Gamble in 1981. For 33 years in P&G offices in Kobe and Cincinnati, he was involved in the development of new products and personal care products such as paper products (Pampers, Attento/Attends, Whisper/Always) and cosmetics (SK-II, illume, Max Factor, Olay). He had the valuable experience of working in a global organizational environment and developing various products not only for the Japanese market, but the global market.
One of his favorite projects was the global skincare brand, SK-II, which was originated in Japan. When SK-II was just emerging in the 90’s, it was developed with the strong intention of keeping true to the brand’s original essence and value. As a result, SK-II was not affected by the constant flooding of new products in the skincare market, and it grew into a brand loved across the world for a long time.
Over the years at P&G, he had been the director of R&D in Prestige, the site leader of Kobe Innovation Center, and the operating officer of P&G Innovation Holdings.
Since 2001, he has been an expert on All About, for electronic music and techno pop as a dedicated fan of the artform.
Currently, he is a consultant at conconcom, and an advisor at WATER DESIGN. He is a development consultant for a wide range of businesses, from products, services, to education.