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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 Anatomy of Innovation | Main | Google Android vs. Apple iPhone: Whose App Ecosystem Will Win? »

    October 23, 2009


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    Account Deleted

    I am pleased by this beautiful execution and plan. There's a lot of modeling and design in the global market, but your try is for something different. Thank you, Local Motors, so much for your nice dream.

    Car Born

    The blog was very informative.

    HID Kit

    Nice video.I love it.Thanks

    David Alan Lance

    What a splendid post. Good. Innovation in American business, starting with the automobile. We used to lead the world when depressions necessitated invention. Looks like some of us still have what it takes.

    I would like to address Mr. Jay Roger directly. Mr Roger, first of all thank you for putting your neck on the line for me and protecting our freedom. I appreciate it.

    Second, I would like to suggest using Consumer Reports* extensively. Particularly the gold mine of information in it mostly about Toyota. Host and promote high school pre-engineering students to take one class in analyzing the "quality" in the top three cars for each round of reviews.

    After they graduate from that, invite the good ones into an exclusive, advanced class to break out into teams, take one of those quality features and improve it. Have statewide and national competitions. I would really like to see that.

    Best of luck to you.

    David Lance


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