The Powers of Stakeholders—People Fueling Innovation

The Powers of Stakeholders—People Fueling Innovation

Companies know that the customer is central to product development. But it is not enough to design for the customer, because sometimes the most removed stakeholder with the least perceived power can have a significant impact on the product’s success. The Powers of 10 analysis helps product developers identify all relevant stakeholders and proac­tively account for their needs, wants, and desires.


Houston, TX. Pete was finishing his shift, taking his bus back to the parking and maintenance area. He had driven buses in Houston for 15 years and, for the most part, enjoyed a job that some might con­sider monotonous. Every day seemed somewhat different, with the almost infinite variations of traffic jams and the truly infinite variety of passengers. At times, he thought of leaving the company, consid­ered driving delivery trucks or maybe buses for another company. But driving was his life. At some point or another during his career, he had driven just about every type of vehicle with a diesel engine. Being a driver did have its downside. Pete’s life was great as long as he was out on the streets, away from the boss. The office guys—the managers—didn’t respect the drivers, and Pete couldn’t believe he had put up with it for 15 years. Most of the guys worked hard; they spent long days not just driving, but also taking care of their buses, making sure they were clean and full of fuel and bringing them in for maintenance. it seemed that every time Pete brought his bus in for unscheduled maintenance, the boss would grill him on everything he did wrong to cause the problem. All the drivers knew that they should use extreme caution to never let water into the fuel tank (for exam­ple, when they have to fill up the tank in the rain). One guy got fired for that one.

But Pete’s company recently purchased a new fuel mixture called PuriNOx that encapsulates water molecules into the fuel. Unlike adding water to a tank that mixes diesel with water, the water is actu­ally encapsulated into the fuel in a way that it can be released when the fuel combusts. Doing so removes most of the particulates and nitrous-oxide emissions from the exhaust. But Pete did not under­stand that. What he knew was this new fuel looked white, like milk. Now, after all the years of telling him to keep the tank free of water, he is being forced to add the “fuel with water” to his tank.

Milan, Italy. Antoinette was frustrated about the growing level of pollutants in the air around the city. A mother of three, she worried about the health of her children. She frequently found herself angry when the bus came and she watched the black diesel fumes engulf the bus as it left for school. Antoinette saw an article in the newspa­per Corriere della Sera that mentioned the new “Q White” fuel that the buses would be using. Q White burned cleaner and removed harmful pollutants from the exhaust. Although she originally doubted there could be such a simple solution, she was thrilled to watch the bus pull from her stop the next week. As she watched it leave, the usual black plume was replaced by a clear steam. Antoinette found herself almost gleeful that her kids were riding off to school. of course, she would miss them, but at least now she knew they weren’t being exposed to the noxious, black diesel fumes.