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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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    « How to Get Customers to Tell Us What Bugs Them? | Main | Microsoft One Ups Google to Win Facebook Deal »

    October 25, 2007


    Patty Seybold

    Hey Graham,
    I agree. The metaphor of business levers and process flows works for me, too.. also, I loved Peter Horne's tip about starting strategic conversations over business breakfasts and letting them ripple along throughout the day....

    Peter had another thought I found interesting.. His rule of thumb: no scheduled meetings after 3 pm. That's his reflection time. As he put it: "If I'm not thinking about the business, who is??"

    Graham Hill


    Very insightful as ever. In my own work architecting organisations I have found viewing the organisation as a collection of complementary capabilities to be useful.

    By understanding how each capability is constructed from different processes, technologies, information flows, work routines, etc and how they are linked together in a functioning organisation, I am much better able to identify which business levers to pull to extract more value for the organisation and which processes, technologies, information flows, work routines, etc need to be adapted or developed accordingly.

    Graham Hill
    Independent CRM Consultant
    Interim CRM Manager

    The comments to this entry are closed.

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