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2006- the year of consumer created innovation

January 27, 2006

Bored housewives in focus groups with clients pretending to listen and quantitative that isolated ladders of benefits, were almost the only ways that consumer input got fed into the corporate product development process. These findings “kind of” informed new concepts, that were then taken out and tested. Tests that were often unsuccessful, as Malcolm Gladwell likes to point out.

It appears that there is now a newer, smarter way of engaging the consumer in product development.

The idea of open-sourcing product innovation has long been discussed. Last year, Eric von Hippel’s book “Democratizing Innovation” was required reading.

Now it appears that many companies have been listening and are bringing their evangelists closer to the process of product creation and development. GE and Lego are two of the latest examples, written up recently in Newsweek and Wired, respectively.

The topic even came up in Davos at the World Economic Forum, where CEOs got schooled in creativity and the idea of co-creating with customers.

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