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Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Customers : Major Force In Innovation!

While trying to find answers for questions like what kinds of innovation will best help us to emerge from recession stronger than we went in, to gain market share, or to thrive in new and exciting markets, the GT report finds that the U.S. is the easiest country to create innovative products, services and business. Different geographical regions have varying degree of emphasis on innovation. Innovation in general is regarded as a top corporate priority by more executives in Western Europe (41 per cent) than in North America (33 per cent) or in Asia Pacific (31 per cent), while Asia Pacific places higher emphasis on customer led innovation . One of the key finding is the role of customers, along with the attitude of companies to their customers, emerges as a defining characteristic in the survey. The report notes "No longer simply passive recipients of goods and services, customers now help to shape the future of their own consumption." They are now the leading source of innovations globally (41 per cent), more important than anything inside companies, including research and development. Clearly, co-creation seems to be driving more value.

On innovation, the report draws four main conclusions:

- Pay more attention to what your customers say and their ideas for innovations
- Consider expanding your open innovation projects and working with more third parties
- Look outwards, explore new markets, rather than drawing back into your domestic market
- Capitalise on the great shifts of the age, the move away from carbon-based energy and the emergence of China and India as major trading nations with huge consumer markets.

As I wrote here, in this age of contribution economy – a phenomenon that we are seeing ever since the Internet started to connect everyone to everyone else all the time, people from around the world can more easily contribute leading to exploding results - caused by the coming together of energy, ideas, and knowledge. Some of the more familiar examples of these collaborative efforts include blogs, open-source software, podcasts, and even the nonprofit online encyclopedia Wikipedia. We are also seeing customers leading the charge of innovation and the economist article on user led innovation exemplifies a new form of collaboration. The rise of online communities, together with the development of powerful and easy-to-use design tools, seems to be boosting the phenomenon, as well as bringing it to the attention of a wider audience

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