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Sunday, January 18, 2004Fortune( Thanks Rajesh for pointing this out)
As the Internet's influence grows, we're seeing its intrinsic egalitarianism and tendency to empower the small start to change many aspects of modern life. Customers today have more options and less loyalty. They will migrate to businesses that see them as participants in a process rather than as just consumers.
This new style of business, birthed by the Internet, is ignored at any company's peril. In an excellent new book, The Future of Competition: Co-Creating Unique Value with Customers, authors C.K. Prahalad and Venkat Ramaswamy describe the consumer's new role: "from isolated to connected, from unaware to informed, from passive to active."
In the bottom-up economy, presuming you know what the customer wants is the ultimate error. Prahalad and Ramaswamy instead call for "co-creation of value": The successful products and services from now on will be those developed jointly—company and customer working hand in hand.
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