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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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    « How to Revolutionize Your Industry | Main | Local Motors: Reinventing the Car Industry from the Outside In »

    October 20, 2009



    "Hire an outside renegade."

    Now you're talking.

    But send him out back with the idea and then try to integrate it into the culture later; once it is big enough to stand up on the playground? Is that how it works?

    Microsoft got into the security business with their ISA 2000/2004/2006 product.*

    I wonder out loud if the reason they have had such a slow start is not because they lacked the right outside renegade. I think the reason is they do not understand that when Orwell warned us about "Big Brother" he was warning the customers of Microsoft who, by having access to this data, were in danger of becoming Big Brother. Orwell was not, in my opinion, warning the vulnerable masses.

    Hell, the gulags was already full of masses.

    Think about that. Not a renegade idea guy, but the idea itself. Not come in and build a parallel company and then muscle up to the executive conference table. But embrace a truth. Think an idea. An idea that, once adopted, gives the whole team the ability to adapt and build something that people really need. Protection from becoming Big Brother within, AND virus protection from without.

    Just a renegade thought...



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