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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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    « Trends from Customer-centric Visionaries | Main | eBay Refocuses on End-Customers’ Moments of Truth, Goes Back to Basics with Auctions and Community »

    June 19, 2007


    Patrick Kerpan

    Along with the command line as noted above, personalized ringtones appear to be coming along nicely. Design for hackability is a must.

    Patty Seybold

    From Pat Kerpan:

    What Diaz is missing is the "design for hackability" factor. There will be an SDK - Apple doesn't have to write it.


    Patty Seybold

    Good, early review from David Pogue on NPR

    His most important critique is this one:

    "The bigger problem is the AT&T network. In a Consumer Reports study, AT&T’s signal ranked either last or second to last in 19 out of 20 major cities. My tests in five states bear this out. If Verizon’s slogan is, “Can you hear me now?” AT&T’s should be, “I’m losing you.”

    Then there’s the Internet problem. When you’re in a Wi-Fi hot spot, going online is fast and satisfying.

    But otherwise, you have to use AT&T’s ancient EDGE cellular network, which is excruciatingly slow. The New York Times’s home page takes 55 seconds to appear;, 100 seconds; Yahoo. two minutes. You almost ache for a dial-up modem."

    Patty Seybold

    As the iPhone becomes available, the hype continues... long lines form 5 days before it's available!

    Patty Seybold

    Thanks Todd,

    I agree with you.. I've been ruminating about the idea of using Widgets/Gadgets to design a customer-facing Web site.. Most people use them on their desktops (Mac users), or add them to their blogs. But why not design a Web site or home page that consists almost entirely of portable gadgets? You'd have great interactivity and portability.. built-in syndication...


    Mark Vane

    Hi, Added a new value add to my blog this weekend - a news widget from I always wanted to show latest news for my keywords in my sidebar. It was very easy with this widget. Just a small copy paste and it was done. Great indeed.

    Todd Biske

    I agree with you Patty, and posted similar thoughts on my blog at I think it's all about the Dashboard Widgets. Independent of the iPhone, I'm interested to see how Widgets and Vista Gadgets change the way users work with systems, potentially providing much more targeted, lightweight UIs.


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