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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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    « Understanding the Google/China Rift | Main | iPad Personality Clash: Elites vs. Geeks »

    July 22, 2010


    Patty Seybold


    Thanks for the comment. You're right, the fact that Google changes the rightclick behavior on a search result is also annoying. Thanks for the scrub link. I wasn't aware of that service!


    One might seek a metaphor of renting vs owning. You may redecorate your rented apartment, even paint it, but the landlord at anytime can make those walls industrial white again.

    There is something, more bothersome, that Google changes every 9 months or so- it is the ability to right/control click on the title of a search result, and copy the link. In most web contexts, what you get is the link to the site, and Google had run that way for maybe 8 or 9 months. They just flipped it back, so if you copy the link from the search results, you get the Google tracking URL (they obfuscate it more by teasing with a mouse0ver indicator).

    This is a huge bother for researching as I need the direct links. Fortunately, there is a browser script that adds a real link to the results -- Obviously Scrub Google Redirect Links h

    I like this place, but am thinking I ought to go more of a mauve color....

    The comments to this entry are closed.

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