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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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    « Outside Innovation Book Project And Patterns | Main | APPLE SEIZES THE OPPORTUNITY! »

    April 12, 2006


    Patty Seybold

    What wonderful suggestions! Thanks so much! I was thinking about joining WOW, because I have at least one colleague who can "show me around".. but I didn't know that I should try out different server/environments...

    My son is an XBox Live guy and I'm a PC/online person.. I get the impression that those two communities don't intersect either.

    The Wired article has an interesting discussion/graphic about how the different gaming universes may eventually have bridges from one to the other... Are there bridges between communities/servers playing in the same game??



    Andy Havens

    If you are going to game for the "experience," I strongly suggest trying both a "classic," roleplay-heavy game (like WoW), and something much less structured, like Second Life. The experiences are vastly different.

    Also, if you play WoW -- and are doing it as a social experiment -- you may want to first play for awhile as a single player, trying some of the various race/role combos out; then as part of some small groups; then as part of a guild; you may also want to try playing both on a PvE (player vs. environment) server, an RPG (roleplaying) server, and a PvP (player-vs-player) server. Again... all these play experiences are quite different. Many experienced MMO players go into a game like WoW knowing exactly what type(s) of the game they're interested in spending time on. If you haven't had exposure, and start down just one path as an experiment/learning experience about the genre, you may come out of it thinking that that style of play is "the way it is." When, in fact, there are several very distinct ways to play an MMO as complex as WoW.

    And, then, compared to Second Life, which is almost without structure... it's another "game" entirely.

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