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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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    « What Are PC Users Doing? Stampeding to Mac! | Main | Roles and Responsibilities for Managing Your Customer Communities »

    April 21, 2008


    Patty Seybold

    Here's an update on the "Adopt a Mac" project: Mission accomplished! I have now formally retired my trusty Dell Latitude and am happily living in the combined world of Mac OS X and Windows XP running in the Parallels VM.

    I was never able to make the migration work from one machine to the other despite a proactive call from a nice young man at Parallels in response to my posting on their support site.

    I was able to quite easily load XP and MS Office apps, Adobe and Visio onto my Windows VM..What I forgot about, but was quickly reminded of by my Pioneers' support group, was that I also had to install a firewall and an antivirus app for my Windows machine.

    Moving files was easy thanks to another great suggestion..I bought a Passport USB drive. It fits in my pocket and holds 380+ GIGs. Also good for backing up my Mac.

    One remaining mystery: Prints fine from the MAc side. PC printing screws up the Mac printing.. I'm thinking it's a firewall problem.. not sure...I'll get some help to figure it out..

    All in all.. not a project for the techno-phobic. I would recommend that others use the Genius Bar at the Apple Store. Just make an appointment and bring in your PC...Or, if you choose to do it yourself, be patient and allow time...Steve Jobs can't make everything easy!

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