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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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    « Disruptive Innovation: Nature’s Scitable Replaces Life Sciences Textbooks | Main | The Anatomy of Innovation »

    October 02, 2009


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    I love this idea. My two cents:

    If the professor is worth a paycheck, they select the book. They do all the extensive research on the best book for their curriculum. They make their decision not based on price, or kickback, or trips to Hawaii. They simply select the best book.

    That should not change. Let the teacher choose the lessons and find the best way to present them to the student. That seems pretty ironclad.

    However there are good text books, and there are great ones. There are styles that work, and styles that do not work. Students should be able to be heard.

    What a waste of a perfectly great quality assurance team if they do not have a voice.

    A great text book is bound elegantly, with paper that is at once easy on the eye in the 1:00 a.m. dorm room light, varnished for easy cleanup, and is highlighter absorbent.

    The ones I love have a note of recommendation inside the front cover flap that specifies which flouresent bulbs to burn while reading it. It has key phrases published in the margins that make it easy to scan and review. The best book I can imagine would absorb highlighter, and then make it easy to manually erase it. (I only need to keep it highlighted until the final. Then I'd like to go back to clean, thank you very much.)

    Also, having carted around twenty pounds of backpack through most of my college years, I would like go suggest a Kindle version with excellent graphics and readability.

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