I thought about this again and realized that this is what experimentation is all about. Does one really know if a web-to-print greeting cards business will work? Or would an events e-marketing gig become the next big thing in events management?
What the BOS authors say is that if you asked someone, "Do you need an online tool that will help remodel your home?", do they really know if they need such a thing? If you were to ask all the folks who are remodeling their homes this question, do you think all will answer either yes or no? So to clarify, I think that is what the authors meant when they said that consumers know nothing about what they want in a product or service.
This is not what the BOS authors say; they feel that consumers know little to nothing about what they want and it is up to strategists and marketers to discover what that is and deliver the goods. I don’t think they meant it in terms of features that a widget needs to have but in terms of the orchestration of all the things that go into its making and delivery.
– Harsha Raghavan