My Photo


  • 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.

Twitter Updates

    follow me on Twitter


      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.
    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    « Lead Users vs. Lead Customers and the Role of Toolkits | Main | CAPTURING DEEP CUSTOMER KNOWLEDGE »

    March 09, 2006


    Patty Seybold

    Thanks for the link to Lafraise... Great site! Very similar to Threadless, which I also commented upon here.. You've obviously answered your own question.. Even tiny companies can harness customer creativity by enticing customers to "strut their stuff."

    In fact, it's probably easier for smaller (and newer) businesses to do this because they have less NIH.... small, older businesses, may have difficulty.. I think it has to do with how open minded you can be about all the different ways in which you can involve your customers!



    Bardo N. Nelgen

    Hi Patty,

    this analysis definitely is as insightful as always – though I was wondering if this thing with customers co-designing your products eventually was for the big guys only…!?

    However I remember this small t-shirt designing outlet doing something similar on a (maybe less innovative though) very profitable basis. They obviously just use a normal weblog for customer interaction and having the visitors co-design the shirts they will produce:

    This is the company 'Bloïc' [Loïc Le Meur, European VP of Six Apart, the company that hosts your weblog] likes to refer to in his presentations on what blogging can do for a business.

    The comments to this entry are closed.

    Patricia Seybold Group Web Site

    RSS 2.0 Feeds
    PSGroup New Research
    Add the latest research to Google
    Add the latest research to My Yahoo!

    Your email address:

    Powered by FeedBlitz


    • Google Analytics for Blog
    Blog powered by Typepad