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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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    « Best of Our Customer Co-Design Articles | Main | Customer Experience Priorities Should Drive Business Process Design »

    February 14, 2014



    Thanks for the thoughtful comment. I can't fault your logic.



    There is one flaw with your proposal:

    Microsoft's architecture, inherited from the era of minicomputers, is 'antiquated'. And without a new OS that offers some significant improvement for use on 'appliances' as well as servers (clusters of cooperating appliances) the entire stack is useless.

    The conflict between the value of the network effect (entrenchment and all the apps built on windows), and the future of software (many small 'operating systems' on many small appliances, consistently loading and unloading processes, means that MSFT is in an unrecoverable position.

    Had they used the past ten years to invest in new technology they could have possibly made the transition. At this point, the future of programming is already understood, and it has no place for Microsoft:

    Javasript front ends, and similar (Javascript, Python, php etc) backends. Neither of which rely upon the compile process. And both of which require disposable-process operating systems and NOT running-process-dependent operating systems that were built for slower hardware and higher costs.

    If what I'm saying isn't clear: MSFT is DEAD because the windows architecture and development tools are dead weight on an archaic platform and Ballmer blew the accumulated market advantage.

    The big problem today, are that the best people do not want to work for Microsoft. So it's very hard to change the company's direction. And we haven't seen ENOUGH of a marginal improvement in what operating systems can do for MSFT to use it's cash horde and market position to gradually move people to something new.

    The smart answer would have been to develop a lighter phone based OS and move office and other tools to it. And people did advocate that in the past.

    But the world has already decided that on current hardware the linux platform is just 'better' for the current direction of software development - and its free.

    It's possible to improve on the linux model fairly easily. But MSFT does not have a good record of making monumental investments like that nor is it clear that they have the intellectual density any longer.

    It's just how it is.

    And anyone living is welcome to argue with me about this but I'm pretty sure that anyone capable of discussing the architecture of operating systems will pretty much agree.

    The comments to this entry are closed.

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