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Kano Modeling in Product Development

Last modified at 3/10/2021 12:18 AM by BSIMDARS
​​​Kano modeling describes the relationships between fulfillment of a consumer requirement and satisfaction/dissatisfaction experienced by an individual consumer. This theory was proposed by Professor Noriaki Kano of Tokyo Rika University, Japan1. In sensory evaluation, an attribute that is fully implemented would be an optimal intensity. This is an important difference with attributes where for example more is better.
Kano modeling states that the re​lationship between the performance of a product attribute and satisfaction/dissatisfaction level is not necessarily linear. Some attributes can be asymmetrically related with satisfaction/dissatisfaction levels. According to this principle, product attributes can be classified into one of five categories: Attractive, One-dimensional, Must-be, Indifferent and Reversal. The relationship between attribute fulfillment and satisfaction/dissatisfaction are visually presented in Figure 1.

Figure 1. Kano’s model customer satisfaction1
  • Attractive attribute: consumer will be satisfied when this attribute is fully provided; however, the non-fulfillment of this attributes does not cause dissatisfaction;
  • One-dimensional attribute: consumer will be satisfied if this attribute is implemented; dissatisfaction will result if the attribute is non-fulfilled;
  • Must-be attribute: Dissatisfaction results from the attribute not being fulfilled. However, fulfillment of the attribute does not increase satisfaction for the product;
  • Indifferent attribute: consumer satisfaction/dissatisfaction will not be affected by this attribute’ performance;
  • Reversal attribute: consumers will be dissatisfied when this attribute is fulfilled and satisfied when it is not;
The classification of each attribute can be identified through Kano’s paired functional/ dysfunctional questionnaire and its evaluation table (Figure 2 and Table 1)1 ,2. Each attribute’s category can be determined using the paired functional/dysfunctional questionnaire evaluation table (Table 1).

Figure 2. Kano paired functional/dysfunctional questionnaire

There are several advantages to classify consumer requirements into Kano modeling attributes3:
  • Classification of attributes can be employed to optimize products and improve innovation;
  • Discovering and providing attractive attributes create more opportunities for product differentiation in the target market;
  • Attribute classification provides valuable help in trade-off situation in the stage of product development. Sometimes two products requirement cannot be met simultaneously due to technical or financial reason. Based on Kano modeling results, priority can be given to that attribute which has greatest influence on consumer dissatisfaction.


1 Berger C., et al.1993. Kano’s methods for understanding customer-defined quality. Center for Quality Management Journal (Fall), 3-35.
2 Kano N., Seraku Nk, Takahashi F., Tsuji S.1984. Attractive quality and must be quality. Quality,14:39-48.
3 Matzler K., Hinterhuber, HH., Bailom F., Sauerwein E.1996. How to delight your customers. Journal of Product and Brand Management. 5: 6-18.