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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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    « Enterprise Mash Ups and SOA | Main | Making Customer-Contributed Content Work for Your Business »

    February 08, 2008


    Patty Seybold

    OK--Rupert Murdock to the rescue?? A Yahoo!/MySpace/Wall St. Journal and many other newspapers consortium DOES make sense...but the deal currently being discussed is a joint venture--nothing immediate in it for Yahoo!'s disgruntled shareholders...

    Once a company is "in play" seems to me that it's hard to remain independent.. (although Intuit managed to survive a near-merger experience with Microsoft).

    I still favor an independent Yahoo!...They have a strong brand and a great set of properties and services...The challenge of rebuilding and focusing the company, however, has apparently eluded Jerry Yang's team. Rupert may be thinking that Yahoo! knows better how to monetize social networking than MySpace has done to-date. But will Yahoo!'s shareholders accept anything short of a merger??

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