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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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    « What Comes After Social Networks and Cloud? Customer Ecosystems | Main | Apple to Transform Textbook Publishing »

    January 16, 2012


    Patty Seybold

    Great to hear from you, Phillippe!

    You are absolutely correct! Almost everything that we recommend for customers applies to employees and any end-users!


    Philippe Penny

    Dear Patty & Ronni,
    Your analysis as well as recommendations work as well with EMPLOYEES' feedback. Regarding IT systems WHICH they use everyday, especially in service industries, it's critical to set up or adapt the proper loops in order to listen to users's feedback, to get attention from IT and corporate process stakeholders in order to proceed with IT improvements, then to inform back those users that they were listened to, ... well it's exactly the same story, and it cannot work on good will, or quality methods, only.
    >>> As you say, it comes very rapidly to a communication issue, forth and back between front- & back-office employees and field management on the one hand, and IT ecosystem vriuos specialists and managers on the other hand (especially painful when part of IT Build & Run functions are spread outside of the core company :-((.
    >>> the speed to adapt IT systems is seldom synchronized between projects for customer on-line usage, and in-house usage... Once again, the 2-way communication cited above can help to prioritize and align IT evolutions along competitive transformations.
    Scy -php

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