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

    « Mars Direct: Personalizing Candy & Expressions | Main | Spreadshirt: Making It Easy to Be Your Own Brand »

    March 19, 2009


    David Lance

    Clarification and Citations

    Clarification #1: By referencing "dumb terminal and mainframes" I was referring to the earliest organization of computer technology. That standard morphed into the client / server construct, which, in its turn, morphed into the Internet.

    The Internet is now morphing again. I am not sure if there even IS a design, or if it is just happening and we are all like social scientists recording data and trying to understand what it is doing.

    However, as pertains my argument about the return of “dumb terminals,” given the success of the MIT Media Lab, I doubt there will even be a "dumb" pair of socks by 2020.

    Citation #1: The notion that the next morph of computer technology will follow an established path is not my idea. The thought that the dumb/mainframe that evolved to client/server that evolved to Internet will next morph into cloud computers interrelating with smart clients hosting rich Internet applications is not my original idea. I borrowed it. Page 4-8.
    (Jeff Tapper, Michael Labriola and Matthew Boles with James Talbot; "Adobe FLEX 3 - Training from the Source"; Peachpit Press [Adobe Press]; Copyright 2008; pp 4-8.)

    Citation #2: When Tim O'Reilly told that story about Thomas J. Watson's alleged 1943 comment (Time points between 5:17-6:17: ), he was quoting Clay Shirky. (It must be in: So this is a citation of a citation.

    Patty Seybold

    Dave DeB--
    Participatory medicine using Cloud + SaaS + mobile is a great approach.. as long as we can be secure (which we SHOULD be able to be)..

    Thx for the tip on Clay's new book. I'll see if I can Kindle it...

    Patty Seybold

    Dave deB--I'm honored to have You on my blog.. I think of as an e-cosystem.. It's a marketplace of Web Services and SaaS applets that is, to my eye, thriving.. It's a Cloud with lots of action...I think the only real difference between a generic Cloud like IBM's or Sun's and Salesforce's is that in Salesforce's case, it's really an environment that revolves around Salesforce as the central app.. and everything else is literally connected to it (I may be mistaken, I haven't looked at it closely.. but that's my perception).. This is somewhat akin to the Google cloud.. Google hosts it. Google's apps and Google's architecture are at the core. You can add your own apps and run them there, but they'll be google-architected, or at least interoperate with Google's architecture. Amazon's EC2 cloud has two pieces to it. On the one hand, you can just put your apps on a virtual machine on EC2 and run them there.. on the other hand, Amazon Services DOES offer services you can use, e.g. payment services.. A true cloud would let you host anything running in just about any architecture.. Amazon may be the one that does that the best right now..

    Patty Seybold

    I don't agree that Cloud Computing is "dumb" computing.. meaning dumb terminals... Rich client-side applications are one of the things that makes SaaS really work! Same thing goes with all the applets on our cellphones and blackberries. You don't have to wait for the latency off hitting the cloud and coming back for most of the things you need to do.. Of course, sometimes you ARE submitting a request and needing a response but the request is "skinny".. I am a big FLASH/AIR fan.. It has made my Web experience MUCH better and most of my clients are way ahead of the curve in using rich clients .. take a look at the National Semiconductor site, for example.... All that rich interactivity and user toolkits resides in the browser and most of it can be used offline--e.g. configuring your own LED or power supply...

    Dave deBronkart

    btw, re "Cloud + SaaS + Mobile = the Future":

    There's a huge initiative underway in healthcare for "connected health," and another push to open source solutions, with an intensely rebellious disruptive streak. (I just learned last night that Christensen just published Innovator's Prescription, his healthcare book. Buying it today.)

    Meanwhile numerous sharp observers on the e-patient blog note that for the lower socioeconomic tiers, mobile is the platform for HC - health 2.0 apps are great but useless for people who don't have broadband at home. Pew data released last year talked about it.

    So now I'm wondering whether cloud + SaaS + mobile is the future of participatory medicine.

    Dave deBronkart

    Great to be reading your prognostications again after all these years, Patty. I saw your tweet yesterday looking for a fresh angle - you sure haven't lost the knack for being prolific! Quite a post for one-day turnaround.

    What do you make of's platform? Is it an order of magnitude lower than also-ran, or is it just a horse of a different color?

    David Lance

    Hi Patty, great to see you back in tech/geek mode.

    Adobe's rather intense initiative to infuse the Flash/Flex/AIR model into the technical bloodstream builds upon the idea that "Rich Internet Applications" will increasingly reside independantly on client machines, and will share data with "the cloud" only when the host client has Web connectivity.

    This is all bBrowser independant - of course. This Web interactivity is built right into the application. It is a hybrid solution. Increasingly powerful client machines hosting local applications that routinely share data over the Web.

    This approach models the client / server paradigm that naturally evolved over the LAN in the last several decades. Network connectivity to ever-more-powerful, smart, independent client PCs, enabling the sharing access to widely distributed data.

    If I hear him right, Tim O'Reilly envisions "cloud computing" as the return (on the world stage now) to a single "mainframe" paradigm, with alot of dumb terminals (in a million different forms and functions) interconnected with it.

    Speaking of IBM, O'Reilly explains that Thomas J. Watson's alleged 1943 "I think there is a world market for maybe five computers," was off by four.

    If O'Reilly is right, and "cloud computing" eliminates the local, client app with one big central computer repository of data and applications as service, doesn't that implode the software industry?

    And speaking selfishly, what exactly will I do with all of those terrabytes of space that will soon be available on my new flash hard drives? There are just so many digital photos I can manage effectively...

    Could "computing in the cloud" really be the new model? What about the continuing, exponentially increasing power of the PC?

    How do increasingly powerful "client" machines, each capable of generating and storing exponentially greater quantities of raw data, fit within a model of "one central computer" feeding data and computing services to an unlimited number of dumb terminals?

    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