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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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    Observations

    • LEAD USERS
      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.
    • LEAD CUSTOMERS
      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.
    • LEAD CUSTOMERS AND LEAD USERS
      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.
    • HOW DO YOU WIN IN INNOVATION?
      You no longer win by having the smartest engineers and scientists; you win by having the smartest customers!
    • CUSTOMER CO-DESIGN
      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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    « MIGRATING FROM LEAD USERS TO MAINSTREAM CUSTOMERS | Main | ARE YOU LEVERAGING CUSTOMER-GENERATED CONTENT? »

    December 21, 2006

    Comments

    Patty Seybold

    Got it, Graham!

    Thanks for the clarification and the link!

    Patty

    PaulSweeney

    Its a very good point. Now will CRM suppliers enable people to find other people within that base of users for a particular company? Imagine that Verizon or Vodafone presented you with the option of contacting another customer who had the problem, who seems to be online right now? This is a big market for 2007.

    GrahamHill

    Patty

    I think you missed the obvious answer. Help customers make sense of the variable advice available from the company (advice based upon what we think you should be doing with our products) and customers (advice based upon what customers really do with your products, often in conjunction with other products) by mining both and bring them together into a common knowledge source.

    And by mining I don't just mean parsing written knowledge in databases, I also mean how-to diagrams, short video clips, joint company-customer problem-solving sessions, etc.

    This brings in both sides of the double-two-way mirror perspective needed to tackle these types of problems.

    As Kathy Sierra in a great post on "Why marketing should make the user manuals" on her Creating Passionate Users blog - http://headrush.typepad.com/creating_passionate_users/2006/08/why_marketing_s.html - it is high time as much effort was spent by companies supporting the product ownership experience as on marketing the products.

    Graham Hill
    Independent CRM Consultant

    The comments to this entry are closed.

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