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

    « Amazon Joins Apple in Offering DRM-Free Tunes | Main | New Platform for Customer-Innovation?? IPhod/IPhone, New Safari Browser & User-Generated Widgets »

    May 27, 2007


    Patty Seybold

    Wow! Great insightful observations and questions, Jonathan....

    I think that marketing CONSISTS of understanding customers' contexts and desired outcomes deeply...

    I agree with you that sales is changing.. actually good sales has always been "consultative sales".. e.g. understanding the customers' context and understanding their outcomes, then positioning your products and services to be easy for customers to buy (including understanding how their buying/approval process works, whether that's consumer or business - e.g. you won't buy a car your kid doesn't want to be seen in!)..

    Jonathan Narducci

    Understanding customer outcomes and what a company has to do to make sure goals are met requires profound knowledge about how customers work, what they do that is successful, what they do that isn't and what problems they are blind to. Hard work to find out but if companies rely only on the "issues" or activites around their products and related services then they might miss why customers aren't meeting their goals, even with the company's extraordinary attention.

    I agree, marketing is over as we know it. But marketing research, meaning, learning about customers, is not. Marketing takes on many different functions. This one, reasearch, in light of the customer powered economy, is more important than ever.

    The other, related question, is "How will today's sales function change?" With customers "capable" of learning so much on their own, how will it affect the need for someone to tell me about someting they already know? Will sales be more of a product "design" function, helping the powerful customer's unique needs become real?

    Any thoughts?

    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