Genchi Gembutsu

This in Japanese means ‘go and see’. This is the best way for product managers to understand what to build.

In 2004, Toyota applied this principle for designing Sienna, its family minivan. The product manager of this product (chief engineer) went out and travelled 54,000 miles, renting Sienna in every place and talking to various families.

The outcome of this long road trip was that they concluded that their primary persona was children. Toyota made changes to Sienna for this persona and in 2004 it saw 60% growth in sales from 2003.

When in doubt, hit the road.

Genchi Gembutsu


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