The 7 Deadly Sins of Innovation – By Mat Shore Insight and Value Proposition Expert

Just like a bad magic trick, some marketers and product managers feel compelled to reveal the method behind the delivery of the benefit of their solution, killing the pay-off completely. My seventh and final Sin of innovation is believing that the customer cares about the specs and functionality of a solution rather than the resulting benefit that it delivers. My company Outside In has always focused on the idea that technology is a means to end, not the end in itself.

Remember, the customer doesn’t always want to know how a product is made if it reflects poorly on the brand identity. Don’t tell them how you’ve done it – all they want to know is how it makes them feel.

Sin 7. Focusing on Function not Emotion

In Scandinavia, people search for special rocks on the beaches that eventually fetch millions of pounds. The material they are looking for is Ambergris.

It looks like this …

Attractive Eh?

Ambergris is another name for a Whale Gallstone, which the whale throws up.

What you are looking at is Whale Vomit

Who is paying millions of dollars for it? Well Ambergris is a key component in fine fragrances.


Do you think your significant other wants to know that her perfume contains whale vomit when you present it on Valentine’s Day? Remember, it’s important to sell the emotion, not the function.

Does this add something?

Is it making the proposition more attractive?

As marketers and product managers we need to re-educate ourselves that the technology and method of how our solution works  is not the value the customer receives.

The value is what the technology enables the customer to do and feel!

Here is an animated video on the Whale and the Vomit story for your delectation.


Mat Shore is a professional innovations speaker and founder of Outside In, a consulting and training company specialising in creating competitive insights and value propositions. You can buy his book ‘The Seven Deadly Sins of Innovation’ now at