This week as “Outside Innovation” finally hits the bookstores in the United States (as far as I know nobody has bought the rights for international distribution from Harper Collins--Random House did a much better job of getting international distribution and translations with my last two books!), we are publishing the first in what will be a series of “Customer Innovation Guides”--tools you can use to see where your organization (or your team or your department) stacks up on the customer innovation maturity curve.
One thing I noticed in researching the book was that the most innovative companies and the ones that are most customer-adaptive have customers playing active roles in many different parts of their business. Take Mozilla for example. As I described in my article about Mozilla’s evolution, customers play all the roles at Mozilla--they write code (lead users, contributors), they debug code (consultants), they make suggestions about next-gen features (consultants), they market the products (promoters), and they support the products (guides). As Mitchell Baker, Mozilla’s Chief Lizard Wrangler, said at our last Visionaries’ meeting, somewhat puzzled by our discussions about porous organizational boundaries, “there’s no inside and no outside at Mozilla.”
That’s a true outside innovation organization!