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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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    « Announcing "The Pattys" | Main | Great Paper by Frank Piller and Susumu Ogawa on Threadless »

    December 22, 2005



    Thank you for this article Patty. I subscribed to your RSS and I hope you will like Clipmarks like we do. And really... I dont like it. I love it. :-)

    eric goldstein

    Thanks Patty. I'd be happy to talk with you whenever you'd like. Looking forward to your feedback. Happy holidays!


    Patty Seybold

    Thanks so much for stopping by, and for clipping my Tagging comments and posting in your public Clipmarks space.

    Your service seems to be really useful. I've just signed up... Stay tuned.. I'm sure I'll have some questions and will want to interview you and some ClipMark afficionados to better understand how customers are co-evolving your offering.


    eric goldstein

    Great post! I just posted an excerpt on Clipmarks as it might just be the best paragraph about tagging i've read. Wanting to make sense out of it all is exactly what drove us to create Clipmarks. We're not there yet, but we're working on it...along with a number of other great tools. I'm now a subscriber to your blog so i look forward to reading more. Here's a link to the Clipmark i posted if you're interested:

    The comments to this entry are closed.

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