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OUTSIDE INnovation by Patty Seybold

Admittedly, I’m late. Patricia “Patty” B. Seybold’s work OUTSIDE INnovation already came out more than two years ago. And even though I started reading (or better: ‘devouring’) the first chapters immediately after it hit the bookstores in October 2006, the changes in my life, business and the moving left me up with always delaying OUTSIDE INNOVATION book cover this post until now. So what can I say after having lots of time to think through its ideas and concepts ?  Well, she got even better. :-)  The new book is even more fun to read than the earlier ones. Also the new structure with bite-sized information chunks is very pleasing if you don’t have a lot of time to read chapters in one piece. Though, now you have to pay attention in order to keep up with the thoughtfully chosen information structure, if you want to get all of the causal connections right.

However (again) Patty has done a terrific job assembling the case studies of quite renowned firms from Europe and the US.

Right a the beginning the reader gets an introduction into which changes have occured to corporate innovation efforts and where the author sees her customer-focussed approach to foster and collect innovative concepts right from a company’s customers related to the traditional ivory tower paradigm of traditional corporated R&D labs (“if we build it they will come”).
 

As these are:

  • finding lead users in your respective industry, giving them the tools to customize your products and then, in return, letting their inventions influence your product development
  • engaging with the most visionary customers to co-design new products, services and processes
  • enabling customers to help one other, share new concepts and build on top of each others ideas

 
Currently working for a personalized goods company myself, I’d personally recommend this read to any product manager, CEO and all controllers still thinking, continuously throwing out new cheap “quick & dirty” products was be the most effective way to e-commerce.