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Why appearance is not "exciting" for a sports car?

"Expected" quality or requirements are essentially basic functions or features that customers normally expect of a product or service. "Exciting" quality or requirements are "out-of-ordinary" functions or features of a product or service that cause "wow" reactions in customers.

image - exciting qualityThe original Kano Diagram of Quality (diagram on the right), is often cited to explain the concept of latent expected and exciting quality requirements. Dr. Kano's research actually revealed a contradiction in the common assumption that the level of customer satisfaction always moves in the same direction and rate of change as the level of performance. Kano found that designing products that would excite customers as well as meet basic expectations had a two-dimensional complexity. And, it also changed by customer segment, over time, and even reasons for purchase.

Dr. Akao (founder of QFD) introduced the original Kano's model to the U.S. QFD community in 1987, but without details on how to integrate the two methods. QFD experts have been experimenting with different approaches with varying success in actually achieving a competitive edge. "The most important and the trickiest part is that the target of customer satisfaction can be moving and invisible," says Glenn Mazur. "Many folks who cite the Kano model are not fully aware of its power or if they do, they do not know how to identify and focus on the moving invisible." [ Glenn Mazur 2002, QFD Institute]

To do so requires deeper understanding of unspoken 'true' needs and expectations of customers and market. The New Kano Mode, developed by the QFD Institute in 2008, offers an explicit framework for fully integrating this powerful method of building exciting quality in the new product development, future product line planning, and strategy building.

click to go to New Kano Model workshop In this diagram, the center line represents desired performance or functionality type issues such as "faster is better." These are what most customers talk about in surveys and interviews. Thus, they are visible to both you and your competitors. But, the best opportunity for competitive advantage lies where competitors do not have knowledge (unless they do QFD and Kano better than you) — in the latent expected and exciting quality requirements. To uncover them requires more complex analysis of unspoken 'true' needs and expectations of customers and market.

To find this, you'll want to know:

The New Kano Mode is covered in the QFD Black Belt® training. It introduces you to specific methods and steps to incorporate this powerful concept of building exciting quality in your product and strategy. The New Kano Model workshop can be also arranged as an in-company training.


All Nippon Airways (ANA) used the Kano Model in their analysis of customer surveys, to understand how customers perceived quality in air travel service, what are their expectations, what quality offerings would give them an edge over competitors.

image of Kano study model for a university dormitorySetting questionnaire items correctly is the most critical part of any survey. To identify the expected quality and the opportunities for exciting in the Kano model, Tamagawa University in Japan used QFD tools to develop more effective customer surveys to measure students and faculty satisfaction concerning their higher education and campus life, to help them position and market their school better.

Tamagawa University researchers also applied Kano Model to listen to the voice of customers of prospective students, their parents, and faculty, to identify and build exciting quality in their new dormitory design. This also enabled them to assure all of expected, must-have quality expectations were met. This case study was published in the 2007 Symposium Transaction.

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