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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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    « Why Amazon Opened an Android Appstore | Main | Best Practice: Mobile Web Strategy – Learning from Nature Education’s »

    March 29, 2011


    Atlanta Roofing

    But at this point I'm wondering if a good future bet isn't Amazon. I like how they've thought of monetizing this, how they've integrated it, so far and their history with cross platform. Like you, I'm not jumping on today, but I sure am going to be watching it closely. I continue to be impressed with Amazon...

    Patty Seybold

    Both really good points, Scott..

    I hadn't noticed the reliance on Flash. That seems like a problem, particularly for Apple users!

    Also you're right, a "streaming only" model for accessing my music won't work IMHO.

    I'm assuming that I can download music from my Amazon cloud storage and play it using a local player on my mobile device. I obviously need to test this more before I pontificate!

    Scott Jordan

    Patty, I think this will emerge as another facet of the native-app-vs-web-app debate.

    Cloud storage is great, but unless it's backed up (literally) with local storage, then enjoying your library requires connectivity, which is already pricey and only going to become more dear.

    To my eye, Amazon hasn't addressed this. Unless I'm missing something (entirely possible; the launch details aren't explained well by Amazon), it's a solution for the home or office (the latter at least until IT managers clamp down on it for bandwidth reasons, as many have done with Pandora et fils), but not for mobile devices yet, or so it seems. Maybe that's why they had no issue making its browser kiosk Flash-based? In any case, if the computing world is going mobile, that seems like an oversight. But maybe I'm just missing something. Music is all about portable players and has been for years.

    Summary: If I'm confused about this, you can bet Joe Headset will be as well. The service seems fine but missing that mobile aspect, and its launch message kinda puzzles me.

    Side issue: I wonder how many music hyperconsumers will bump up against their ISPs' GB limits this month as they rush to upload their libraries. For example, Time Warner was testing a 50GB monthly cap in some US regions last year.

    Scott Jordan

    Hm. Between this and Dropbox and Google's and Microsoft's offerings and whatever Apple has up its sleeve, seems cloud storage is becoming free or close to it. (But what about the bandwidth to horse all those gigabytes up and down?)

    I clicked the link, and a new Firefox window opened, already signed-in to Amazon (hm: security). My 5GB were waiting for me... but I couldn't upload, as I've removed Flash from my machine! To great effect, I might add: battery life is 15% better, and browser misbehavior is a thing of the past. Fortunately I keep Chrome installed (in addition to Firefox and Safari); Chrome has Flash built-in. Ergo, I can use this service via the Chrome browser. But how odd that Amazon would make its new service Flash-based, when barely-functional buggy kinda/sorta Flash is just now coming to mobile devices of any stripe, and it's being omitted from recent MacBook Airs (and others?). Of course, users can always download it. Shouldn't have to, is my point.

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