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  • What is Outside Innovation?
    It’s when customers lead the design of your business processes, products, services, and business models. It’s when customers roll up their sleeves to co-design their products and your business. It’s when customers attract other customers to build a vital customer-centric ecosystem around your products and services. The good news is that customer-led innovation is one of the most predictably successful innovation processes. The bad news is that many managers and executives don’t yet believe in it. Today, that’s their loss. Ultimately, it may be their downfall.

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      Eric von Hippel coined the term "lead users" to describe a group of both customers and non-customers who are passionate about getting certain things accomplished. They may not know or care about the products or services you offer. But they do care about their project or need. Lead users have already explored innovative ways to get things done. They're usually willing to share their approaches with others.
      I use the term "lead customers" to describe the small percentage of your current customers who are truly innovative. These may not be your most vocal customers, your most profitable customers, or your largest customers. But they are the customers who care deeply about the way in which your products or services could help them achieve something they care about.
      We’ve spent the last 25 years identifying, interviewing, selecting, and grouping customers together to participate in our Customer Scenario® Mapping sessions. Over the years, we’ve learned how to identify the people who will contribute the most to a customer co-design session. These are the same kinds of people you should be recruiting when you set out to harness customer-led innovation.
      You no longer win by having the smartest engineers and scientists; you win by having the smartest customers!
      In more than 25 years of business strategy consulting, we’ve found that customer co-design is a woefully under-used capability.
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    « The “New Work” of the IT Architect: Innovation Labs and Incubators | Main | A PEEK INTO THE FUTURE OF COMPUTING »

    November 02, 2006


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    Although we don't require a sales receipt to obtain service it is a good idea to keep your receipt your receipt includes valuable information that may be needed to confirm coverage with the manufacturer or to ensure that your registration is accurate.

    Softech Microsystems

    Good post. I am going to save the URL and will definitely visit again.

    Patty Seybold

    Thanks, Paul--
    I'd love to hear more about your engine to support these "phone home" activities. I have a lot of clients who are implementing these kinds of features...



    Nice examples. Just a brief FYI. At our company we have built an "engine" to do just this. As more and more devices get networked and connected, you need to gain access to a platform that will connect you to the right person at the right time. For instance, in the example above, if the photocopier runs out of ink, who gets called, and if they don't answer or confirm, what happens then? To take another example, if your anti-virus is about to expire, and you are away from your computer, shouldn't you get a phone call with the the option of having some "emergency cover" if you speak to customer service? To paraphrase Yeats, "with interaction comes responsibilities!" (ouch!). Anyway, I am going to link this article on our blog.

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