Creating Value Through "Craftsmanship"

At the risk of sounding old-fashioned – and unfortunately, it probably does – I believe that one amazing component that is alive and well with all innovation superstars is craftsmanship. Now, when we think of the term “craftsmanship” we think of hand-crafted wood items or hand-sewn quilts or hand-painted this-or-that. But I believe craftsmanship is alive and well in all things. It is about quality that is connected to what a customer feels.

Craftsmanship is about creating value for customers that elicits a visceral response above and beyond the mere function of a product or service. It requires a real connection to what customers value and the skill to craft it for them. Unfortunately, the trend today is that most organizations focus on minimizing components, on increasing manufacturing efficiencies with a core objective of reducing cost of goods sold. Craftsmanship, in my mind, is creating multiple “fibers” of experience for your customer. It’s about the way it looks, the way it feels, the way it smells, its reputation, the way it makes you feel about yourself. It’s the convenience, the timeliness, the ease of learning, the ease of use – the more such “fibers” you connect in this multisensory being we know as humans, the more that craftsmanship is alive and well.

But craftsmanship isn’t always about something old or traditional. There are new forms of craftsmanship and new ways to deliver craftsmanship. Take Facebook as an example. In my family, as well as family members and individuals and companies around the world, Facebook has provided an amazing way to stay connected. It’s almost like my neighbors – who I’ve been out of touch with for years – are now like neighbors. I get a chance to know what’s going on in the lives of people I care about every single day. That’s a form of craftsmanship, because it touches us on so many levels; it’s multidimensional.

That sort of craftsmanship is so valuable to so many that it has become an explosive phenomenon – simply because the market responds to what they feel. They respond to what they experience, and that’s what craftsmanship is all about. I find that a sense of craftsmanship is alive and well in all of my innovation superstars.

The Craftsmanship checklist

  • Do a company’s products reflect a pride of craftsmanship? A superior quality, fit form, and package?
  • Do a company’s products or services consistently exceed customer expectations?
  • Do a company’s services (sometimes around a product) reflect a pride of craftsmanship? Ownership?
  • Do a company’s communications – websites, ad collateral etc – reflect a pride of craftsmanship?
  • Do people act like owners of the company?
  • Do a company’s facilities reflect the same level of craftsmanship, care, and pride of ownership as its products?