May 5th, 2008
The transformation of “customer driven”, “customer-centered”, “customer-defined” from just empty buzzwords in the latest management books to central values, key strategic skills is continuing.
Patricia Seybold’s 2006 book Outside Innovation: How Your Customers Will Co-Design Your Company’s Future (Harper Collins, New York 2006) provides a broad review of many techniques used by a wide range of companies to incorporate customers and customer ideas into product design. The book is sufficiently current to include examples for web-centered customer environments. Ms. Seybold has gathered a large number of examples in varying market segments. This makes the book a worthwhile read just for these through examples. Unfortunately, the formalization of the ideas remains low. This makes this book look and feel like a collection of anecdotes. The book closes with “Five Steps to Outside Innovation”, “Five Core Competencies to Master”, and “Five Pitfalls to Avoid”. Unfortunately Ms. Seybold never really develops her copywrited, “Customer Scenario” to organize the methods and approaches to get beyond the notion that customer inputs to innovation are a series of “I want….” statements.