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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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    « Making It Easy for Customers to Do Business with Us | Main | The Future of Publishing »

    February 06, 2006


    Patty Seybold

    Good points, Dana--I am not saying that MOST customers will get become involved in co-designing games. If only a small percentage of customers become game co-designers--say 10% of total players--it absolutely changes the complexion/content of the game for all.

    There are over 10 million people in the world currently playing multi-player online games. That says that up to 1 million gamers might be seduced into co-designing the games they play. This would dwarf the number of professional developers/designers who are currently involved in creating content, characters, and decor in these games--letting the professional developers focus on creating the underlying behavior and logic of the games as well as honing the tools that end-customers can use to strut their stuff and make these games more personal, idiosyncratic and interesting.

    Re: your question about representative demographics, here are some interesting statistics from Edward Castronova's seminal book, Synthetic Worlds.

    Although he doesn't provide a breakdown of demographics for players of MMPORG's only in the book, according to Edward Castronova,

    - “The people who play video or computer games in the U.S. alone, now represent over 50% of the population over age 6.
    - The average game player is 29 years old
    - 43% of game players are women
    - 97% of games are purchased by adults over age 18
    - 60% of parents play games with their children at least once a month ”

    (From: Synthetic Worlds: The Business and Culture of Online Games, Edward Castronova, The University of Chicago Press, 2005, p. 57)

    Yes, it's true that "shoot em up" games abound..and Spore will contain its share of "shoot em up" capabilities... But it's also true, according to Castronova, that many players prefer to relate to other players--not just to annihilate them.

    Thanks for your thoughts!



    Not sure that voyeur/browser based behavior types, at any given age, relative to the experience, will be doing much designing; isn't that why they play, rather than design to begin with? Yes I get the intrigue to the adult participants, but again, is the mass of audience, adult, or, younger? The buzz here may not be overblown at some future time, but for the foreseeable future, isn't the lack of such rudimentary needs as bandwidth going to be a factor? SIMS is fun, for a prescribed length and then it becomes less fun, simply allowing a change of scenery or behavior doesn't really pep it up much- yes, theoretically it should, but when we actually measure it in the marketplace of the real my doubts include such things as why shoot em ups are so popular versus non shoot em ups like SIMS?
    Don't know any final verdicts, just looking over the content of Borlands article and Kosaks article my reaction is that the scene may be skewed and lack objective balance in the actual marketplace?

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