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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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    « Do You Need an App for That? | Main | Are You Violating Your Customers’ Privacy? »

    July 19, 2012



    Really interesting perspective. I like the reframing of the identity concept.


    Thought provoking article Patty.

    I have wondered for a long time about knowledge assets and how they combine to form things. These intangible assets have enormous value as collective data. So for me as the data proliferates those who can tap the hidden assets profit and the data providers (you) get nowt as they say in the north of England.

    This model is ripe for disruption. Why not pay us for our data, or enable other things that we then have a choice of sharing or not and with whom. Opt in, or opt out.

    If data is the new oil or soil depending on how you view it. We need more than ever to give authority to those we wish to work with. Common goals and empathy.

    It is not that hard to imagine it. It is building a big enough network to sustain and protect it.

    Stimulating ;)


    The comments to this entry are closed.

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