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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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    « Apple and Adobe Disagree about iPhone Development and Flash Support on iPhone and iPad | Main | Apple’s Misstep Keeps Kids from Showcasing Their Innovations on iPhone »

    April 22, 2010


     Resume Writing Service

    There's been a big furor the last two weeks about Apple's insistence that cross-platform development tools, and in particular Adobe's Flash, cannot be used to develop iPhone applications.

    Jean Baptiste Durand

    Thank you Mr Seybold for this excellent analysis.
    The history of the Seybold Conferences should definitely be on the web.
    I remember so many historical keynotes that I would be so happy to see again and to share with the young generation:
    Brainerd, Warnock, Jobs, Gates, Gill, Ebrahimi, Arazi, Joy etc...
    I especially remember Steve Jobs telling Bill Gates that "after discovering the GUI last year he discovered Fonts";
    Warnock in tears during the Font war; etc...
    Is there any videos somewhere that could be uploaded on the net?
    We miss you a lot. I hope you will post a lot of other stories.
    The level of quality of undestanding you brought has not be matched since you left.
    Best Regards
    Jean Baptiste Durand from France

    Henrik Holmegaard, mag.scient.soc.

    For my sins, I reviewed Mac OS 7.5 in Aktuel Grafisk Information for Scandinavia and have written manuals and educational materials on ICC imaging, including the manual for GretagMacbeth iQueue and the Eye-One Color Cookbooks hosted on Apple's ColorSync home page for three years.

    Now, Jonathan Seybold reviewed TrueType 2 and ColorSync 2 in May 1992. The idea in both models is to maintain content information (character information and colour information) while morphing the imageable graphics (imageable composition and imageable colourant).

    Apple advises in its iWork User Guides that customers should work with advanced typography using Apple Hoefler and Apple's implementation of Linotype Zapfino, both of which are TrueType 2 implementations. TrueType 2, like ColorSync 2, implements the model of intelligent transform - unintelligent transform mechanism.

    Meanwhile, when saved through Apple's system PDF service no imageable composition drawn with Apple's TrueType 2 MORT/MORX glyph substitution and no imageable composition drawn with Microsoft's GSUB glyph substitution stays searchable. This means that in Apple applications (e.g. TextEdit, Pages) and in third party applications, between 5% and 50% of the imageable composition is unsearchable.

    It has been possible to embed the intact indices of the ColorSync 2/ICC file format in PDF since version 1.3, but it is not possible to embed the intact indices of the SFNT Spline Font file format in PDF until version 1.6, and then only with Microsoft GSUB glyph substitution, not with Apple's MORT/MORX glyph substitution.

    Adobe has publically opposed TrueType 2 as determinate and runtime-independent drawing model, see e.g. public posts by David Lemon at the introduction of OpenType and the Adobe position by Thomas Phinney on Type 1, TrueType and OpenType. Adobe's support for determinate and runtime-independent drawing in ColorSync 2/ICC imaging has been problematic, too.

    The problems of device independent cannot be solved by converting PostScript to PDF, because PostScript does not process the tagged ICC and SFNT file formats of two consortia. And the more PDF that is produced in Mac OS X, the more problems are produced by trying to insert semantic information and structure information ex post facto.

    Just my ten cents.

    Henrik Holmegaard
    would-be technical writer

    Bob Gort

    Jon says someone should assemble a history of Xerox PARC -- a couple of people have -- I was quite impressed, for example, by "Dealers of Lightning".

    Alex Leverington

    Unfortunately, as far as Flash is concerned, it's something that's remained the same for a very long time from it's inception and has lost the original direction from Macromedia's departure. More importantly, Flash is too high-level and lacks the maturity to have optimizations which are found in iPhone OS and Android. Java and Objective-C have mature runtimes which have been built to function seamlessly without regard to platform whereas Flash is only optimized for Win32+Intel and OSX+PPC (w/x86 crammed in). Worse, I think Flash has suffered from "backward compatibility syndrome" just like Microsoft. Todays Flash player will run Flash 1.0 movies and this is something that, even if Adobe were to rebuild Flash from the ground up, affects performance.

    Unfortunately Adobe has continued building Flash as a composite system of graphics, animations, and scripts rather than an application platform and runtime. In addition to neglecting it as a platform, Adobe focused on short-term software sales by keeping Flash and PDF proprietary to each other; projects to integrate the two "Flash paper" have been discontinued and even PDF is falling prey to the same "revenue instead of performance" issues.

    Hindsight is at play here and I'm afraid that Adobe has missed their chance. Had Adobe detected the "App" trend as performance-sensitive and rebuilt Flash to suit, along with things like HTML and PDF document integration, Adobe might have a presence in the mobile market that we couldn't imagine.

    Sadly, Adobe is losing market share with PDF, Flash is losing relevance, and as we are seeing from major online video sites -- it doesn't take very long to switch mainstream formats. Sure, we're still stuck with Word documents, but, I think Flash is soon to go the way of WordPerfect.

    PS: I've done amazing things with Flash but have loathed it as a developer. It's always been a difficult platform to write code with. Aside from full-screen sprite games, developing a cross-platform app in Flash is tedious at best.


    This is an excellent piece that contains information that I read here fore the first time. For example, I had no idea how large Apple's role was in the creation of PostScript.

    Seybold gives us insight that can be given only by an insider. However, he also skips over some Apple-Adobe history that some might feel is important. He also makes some misleading statements. That said, this was the best piece that I have read in a very long time.

    Patty Seybold

    Additional Comments from Jonathan:

    Couple of further thoughts about Adobe and Apple:

    Thinking about Adobe: The trouble with being too dominant in your market is that you tend to become far more concerned with protecting your position than on moving things forward.
    We have all seen this time and time again.

    The old cow that successful innovators "eat their young" was, I think, an unfortunate metaphor. What we are really talking about is eating your mature cash cows. That is pretty hard for most people to come to grips with.
    This is clearly true of Adobe. They should be at the forefront of doing HTML5 tools. They are not. How stupid is that? If they don't someone else is going to.

    On the Apple side, I find the problem with Scratch that has just come up to be really troubling. This really re-enforces the perception of Apple-as-control-freak -- which will help drive more developers to Android.
    Not smart.

    BTW: Has anyone else had the misfortune to notice what Apple has just added to Safari on the Mac? Safari crashed on me yesterday for no apparent reason. The screen message that followed informed me that Safari had just crashed -- most likely because of Flash.

    I observed years ago that Microsoft always had to have an enemy to keep it focused and motivated. In the periods between enemies, the company tended to drift.

    I don't think that Apple needs this. Just working for Steve keeps you focused and motivated!

    And, you don't want to have too many enemies. Gives them lots of mutual incentive to get together to gang up on you.


    This was a fascinating read, from a brilliant mind. Thank you for the unique insight. The way you balanced your initial feelings and how you reasoning progressed was excellent.

    I wish more people could read this.

    The comments to this entry are closed.

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