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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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    July 30, 2010



    Your trip sounds like me a month ago - getting stuck somewhere in Georgia (the southern U.S. one, not the European one) on my way back from Tunisia.

    As for the iPad, I'm amazed there has not been more talk about it as an iPhone for old people. Yes, I have several Macs. Yes, I got the first Mac back in 1984 as an engagement computer because I told my husband-to-be I'd rather have that than a diamond ring. Yes, my oldest child's first sentence was Run Applevision.

    But... I wanted an iPad because I am old and my eyesight is fading fast. My optometrist doesn't do miracles. I can pretty much only use my iPhone for a phone because if I increase the text size I can only read half a sentence. The screen is just too small. So, for me the iPad is something I can read text on, use twitter, read a book, while I'm sitting around waiting for child #4 to finish shopping.

    The client who bought it for me actually wants me to do work on it (I will, I swear) but one of their interests is in iPad as adaptive technology. I suppose it is not marketed that way because it would be totally uncool.

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