Editors: Alex Gofman (Deceased), Howard R. Moskowitz

Rule Developing Experimentation: A Systematic Approach to Understand & Engineer the Consumer Mind

Special Offer (PDF + Printed Copy): US $178
Printed Copy: US $178
ISBN: 978-1-60805-419-0 (Print)
ISBN: 978-1-60805-284-4 (Online)
Year of Publication: 2012
DOI: 10.2174/97816080528441120101


Consumers have been increasingly involved in the innovation process in the last few decades, a major driving force of business success. This involvement is critically important for innovation, particularly in product development.

However, consumers frequently cannot articulate exactly what they need, want, or like if they are asked directly. It is very difficult for consumers to articulate their needs and desires. Therefore, researchers have to use other means to understand their motivations. There are many arguments suggesting that focus groups cannot create a reliable direction for new product development (NPD) or message optimization. A solution for this problem lies in a systematic, structured and disciplined experimentation with consumers - presenting them with a set of experimentally-designed products or concepts and soliciting their preferences. It is much easier for consumers to choose a preferred option from a set of concepts. New technologies make it easier than ever to conduct complex experiments quickly and inexpensively. The expanded use of experimentation provides an opportunity to take innovation to a new level.

Rule Developing Experimentation (RDE) is an increasingly popular, structured, consumer-based experimentation methodology. RDE works with prototypes, either physical prototypes, prototypes created out of language (concepts), or prototypes created out of visual stimuli (design and packaging). In business, RDE is used both to understand existing products, product categories and packages, as well as to create next generation offerings in the process of new product development (NPD).

Rule Developing Experimentation: A Systematic Approach to Understand & Engineer the Consumer Mind explains RDE concepts, beginning from its origins, to novel consumer research techniques and covers applications relevant to a real market context. Readers are also introduced to the concept of Mind Genomics® - a more holistic approach to gaining insight into the consumer mind.

Indexed in: Book Citation Index, Science Edition, Social Sciences & Humanities Edition, EBSCO.


This book offers an intellectual delight and practical value for three audiences: (a) decision makers in a variety of fields ranging from corporate executives to public policy decision makers, (b) consumer and marketing researchers, and (c) that wonderful of all gifts, an informed reader who is intrigued by surprising insights and new scientific paradigms.

The basic premise of the book is that to address today’s challenges, one must understand the mind of the consumer and other relevant stakeholders. In this respect, the book follows the rich tradition of marketing orientation and its focus on understanding the consumer. The book furthers this approach by advocating and illustrating the value of Rule Developing Experimentation (RDE), which Howard Moskowitz and his colleagues have been developing over the last 30 years, and which was introduced in Selling Blue Elephants: How to Make Great Products that People Want Before They Even Know They Want Them (2007, Wharton School Publishing). This new book advances THE foundational ideas by offering for each audience segment a number of relevant chapters rich in concepts, innovative approaches, insightful findings, and timely examples.

Whatever your reading style – whether you devour books cover-to-cover or skim selected chapters – this book is a “must-read”:

  1. The book makes a strong case for the value of truly understanding the mind of the consumer in the solution of complex managerial challenges. The challenges span the wide range of issues encountered by today’s business, including R&D and new product development, sensory optimization for food products, packaging design, pricing, advertising, website customization and optimization, segmentation, as well as other key business-relevant decisions.
  2. The book provides a thorough explanation of the Rule Developing Experimentation (RDE) approach, including its origin, its intellectual and computational relation to conjoint analysis and other powerful analytic method. Additionally, the book presents a variety of creative applications which illustrate RDE in action, and delightfully engage the reader with innovative out-of-the-box solutions to key challenges facing companies, societies and individuals. Importantly, there is the ring of practicality, of experience, of stories and theory. The discussions are presented from the point of view of the practitioners, who conducted and wrote most of the chapters.
  3. The book gives the reader a new perspective on the emerging scientific paradigm of Mind Genomics®. Mind Genomics® maps the consumer’s dimensions of experience, creating microsciences of the everyday, a radically new vision for the project of consumer science. For any domain of human life, Mind Genomics® turns the spotlight on, using its RDE tool to identify the phrases which constitute for the respondents the domain of investigation , and within it what is important and what is not. The science focuses on the consumers at large, and reveals new-to-the-world, often quite fascinating, mindset segments. Whereas conjoint analysis and other approaches have done this before for specific applications, the unique feature of the Mind Genomics® world view is the relentless focus on cumulative knowledge across applications, with the goal to develop a usable, generalizable, accessible database of the findings. This ambitious goal finds its early application in this volume, but encourages the readers to add their own applications. This benefit is so important that an alternative title for this intriguing book could have been “The New Science of Mind Genomics®,” or “Mapping the Consumer Mind” to highlight this breakthrough idea of the book. Whereas the additional concepts embedded in the current title are important and the book delivers on them in a thorough and engaging way, the truly innovative idea presented by Howard Moskowitz and his colleagues in their study of Mind Genomics is a bonus for readers interested in exploring the practical value of a developing scientific trend.

The three benefits of the book are delivered in engaging and insightful ways, WAYS that I hope will stimulate readers to refocus their attention on the understanding of the consumer’s mind. As a professor I dearly hope that the reader will be sufficiently inspired, or perhaps simply intrigued enough to experiment with the RDE and related approaches. In the end, if the vision of mind genomics® is destined to come to fruition, in whatever format. Perhaps the readers will be inspired to augment whatever study they conduct with a search for empirical generalizations, and join the grand project of developing and continually updating the inventory of Mind Genomics® data, and its gift of insight.

Yoram (Jerry) Wind, Ph.D.
The Lauder Professor and Professor of Marketing
The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania


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