Customers and Innovation: Not Only Advantages


by Stefan Lindegaard
I recently did some research that once again led me to this great report by Vinova; Managing Open Innovation – Present Findings and Future Directions.

Here I found some interesting insights from Enkel, Kausch and Gassman who states that there are not only advantages, but also negative sides of integrating customers in the innovation process. This is the abstract from the Vinova report.

Loss of know-how — Involve trustworthy customers, chose the moment and develop IP agreements.

Dependence on customers’ views — Chose the ‘right’ customers and work with a mix of customers.

Dependence on customers’ demands or personality — Avoid exclusivity agreements, work with HR to understand customers and their culture and apply open communication.

Limitations to mere incremental innovation — Work with lead users and indirect users, use the right method to include customers and chose an intelligent timing.

Serving a niche market only — Use different customers in different stages of the innovation process and pay attention to the search field process.

Misunderstandings between customers and employers — Develop solid relationships with customers, use the right tools and develop suitable incentive systems.

I found this to be good insights worth sharing with you.

P.S. – Thanks to Ralph Ohr you can find the full report by Enkel, Kausch and Gassman here: Managing the Risk of Customer Integration

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