The case also highlights the distinction between understanding and listening to customers. “Adrià’s idea is that if you listen to customers, what they tell you they want will be based on something they already know,” Norton observes. “If I like a good steak, you can serve that to me, and I’ll enjoy it. But it will never be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. To create those experiences, you almost can’t listen to the customer.”
Don’t take this the wrong way — Adrià most certainly pays a lot of attention to his customers. It’s at the core of what he does. But what he doesn’t do is listen to their input, he instead works to understand their needs and desires, and creates his own experience to satiate them.
You can listen to customer feedback all you want, and it might give you an okay product. It’s when you understand your customers and forge your own pathway based on that understanding that can lead to something really special.