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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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    • 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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    « Business Exchange: Good Example of Crowd Sourcing and Social Networking | Main | Re-Inventing the Boston Globe! »

    May 05, 2009

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     Dave

    THE SCIENTIFIC METHODOLOGY

    Clear twenty or so 9 square feet (3' x 3') little mini farms. Develop one using your mother's organic techniques. Develop one according to MIT's brightest agricultural engineers. Likewise Michigan State's brightest. Distribute the remaining seventeen in such a way to feel certain you have captured the best possible solution with this test set.

    Make it a contest. (MAKE IT A CONTEST.) Clear all of the farms in exactly the same manner. Documentation. Photos posted online.

    Then prepare the soil according to that farm's owners. Water each according to design dictates. (Be very, VERY jealously detailed about adherence to the owner's wishes. This is vitally important to insure success.)

    Use chemicals on the soil as prescribed by the owners of that farm. Exactly follow their schedule. Do not impose your own values or control on their farm. Do it EXACTLY as they say. Plant them all exactly the same. (Gather and document the seeds. Photos please. Make the seeds as identical as possible. Get all of those agricultural engineers to help.)

    Then do your level best to cultivate the highest yield for each farm. Document everything. Journals please. Details please. Observations please. I want blogs. I want video. I want a compelling summer read. I want to invite every good ole farmer in the United States to weigh in.

    On a weekly basis, count and identify all of the bugs (all of them) that can be physically counted on each farm. Again, photos please. Matter of fact, put the photos up online, and I'll personally do some of the counting.

    Document the yield. A photo of every fruit. Every vegetable, along with a diagram of where it grew, and the lifetime photos for it.

    Draw a grid on each farm. After harvest, take the 16 obious soil samples. Photos and diagram intersection points labelled and posted online please. Send the samples to MSU, MIT and the other top notch agricultural schools. Send a set to Harvard.

    Publish all the results except for the yields. Then run your contest. Ask each team to post their prediction for the winning farm. Then post the yields.

    May the brightest prove to be that.

    David Lance

    This one is directly related to the success of the Uganda Rural Development Training Programme (URDT).

    If this were my program, this is what I would do. I would find as many Gravely farming tool implements that I could possibly find. I would start with Google and Craigslist for every city in the U.S. of A. The older the better. They are legendary. Pure engineering quality.

    I would buy a good PC and a few copies of SolidWorks 2009. I would hire a couple capable mechanical engineers. Then I would reverse engineer as much of that Gravely technology as I legally could, and manufacture it - enmasse - and sell it all over Africa.

    You are going to need the right tools to turn Africa into an agricultural success. Here are the ones that we used:

    http://www.pivot.net/~jpierce/gravely_tractors.htm

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