1. What's the output of a Discovery session?
Just this: "Whatever you'd like the supplier to know before they try to develop new technology." Bottom line: You tell the supplier those "outcomes" or end results you'd most like to see.
2. What's the agenda look like?
1) Current State... 2 or 3 background questions, 2) Problems... any difficulties you'd like to eliminate, 3) Ideal State... what your perfect world would look like, 4) Triggered Ideas... helpful tools to help you think "out of the box," and 5) Top Picks... your favorite "outcomes" to be pursued.
3. How do I prepare for this?
You don't... just show up. Seriously, the supplier team will do all the work facilitating the session. Just bring your brain and be ready for some fun. They'll use special "trigger maps" and "outcome statements" to help you.
4. Who should I invite?
Anyone from your company that has an interest in this topic... and would like to get their voice heard before the supplier starts R&D work. This might include technical, purchasing, operations, marketing, design, safety, etc.
5. Who will the supplier send to the meeting?
They'll usually send at least 1 commercial (marketing or sales) person and 1 technical expert... to listen hard and understand your needs.
6. Can I get a copy of the notes?
Absolutely! Just ask. The supplier will clean up any typos afterwards, and then send you a PDF of everything you discussed together.
7. Where should we have this meeting?
The best place is a conference room with a digital projector. If you don't have a projector, the supplier will bring one. You can also invite remote colleagues to join via web-conference.
8. Who "owns" any solutions we develop?
There shouldn't be any problem-solving taking place. The supplier just wants to know "what" you'd like to have happen... not "how." That's why they'll focus on "outcomes" you'd like to see, and not solutions.
9. Should we have a Non-Disclosure Agreement?
Generally no. This isn't about developing new solutions that need protected. It's about your desired outcomes or end-results. If you have confidential information, simply don't bring it up.
10. Can I see what others have said in their sessions?
No, the supplier won't disclose to others any specific sources and feedback from these sessions... including yours! But ask if you'd like them to share generalized, "scrubbed" results with you.
11. Can the supplier work on a new product just for us?
In some cases, suppliers create products for one customer at a time. But in many cases, they're planning to invest significant R&D resources, and need to develop a product for an entire industry to justify the spending.
12. What happens after a Discovery meeting?
Discovery meetings are the qualitative, divergent phase... where the supplier tries to understand all the possible outcomes customers might want. Next they'll do quantitative, convergent Preference meetings to prioritize. Let your supplier know if you'd like to be part of this step!