Envisioning a Product: The Kano Model

03 Feb 2019 2-minute read
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When creating a product it is important to have a good product vision. After all you need to know what exactly it is you’re going to build.

The Kano model was create by Noriaki Kano in 1984. It was designed to tell how likely the customer would be satisfied with the implementation of certain features.
The model contains 3 different types of functionalities: basics, performance functions and delighters.

The basic functions are rudimentary features that are necessary to sell the product. I.e. these are the features that the product can not be without. A downside of these basic functions is that the customer satisfaction starts to stagnate faster when adding more of the same.

Performance functions are a different story. These features live by the rule “The more, the better”. The more functions we add in the type of performance function the higher the customer satisfaction. Customers adore the performance functions.

Yet, performance functions are not enough, we also need delighters. As the name suggests these are the functionalities that excite and delight the end users. These will fill up needs the customers did not even know they had. In turn this will give the product it’s unique selling points and thus a competitive advantage in the market.

A good product relies on a good mix of basic, performance and delighter functionality. They have to be mixed in such a way that the desired benefits are maximised.

The Kano model also introduces an interesting prediction. Over time, delighters will become performance functions and performance functions will become basics.
This means that over time a product will lose its competitive advantage. Competition will also starts to adapt the delighters. Turning them into performance functions. The performance functions in their turn will become basics. This is because users will get used to them.
In the end companies have to keep innovating their products to keep a competitive edge.

Next time when you’re creating a product think back of the Kano model. What are your products basic, performance and delighter abilities? And how can you keep innovating in the long term.