We’re both staunch advocates and practitioners of customer co-design. We don’t limit our customer co-design practice to new product development. We’ve learned over the years that there are many different ways you can take advantage of co-designing with customers: from the ways you engage with customers on your Customer Advisory Boards, to involving them as stakeholders when you’re redesigning your firm’s internal processes.
Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to convince others in your organization to embrace customer co-design. Most executives think it’s a good idea in practice. But, deep down, they are skeptical that customers actually know enough to be useful. They’re concerned that customers will be too demanding and will take them in directions that may not be profitable. They’re scared that customers will pull them in directions they don’t understand.
Absent a strong cultural appetite for customer co-design and engagement, we often find the following symptoms occur:
1. Customer Advisory Boards (CABs) are often thought of as sales tools or product road map validation forums; not business strategy co-design opportunities.
2. Voice of the Customer (VOC) has unfortunately become a required toll gate before the deployment of a new solution. It is seldom used to inform internal business process design initiatives. Online customer communities are often thought of as a customer support channel that will save money; not as a key opportunity for customer co-design.