Outside Innovation

INTRODUCTION: The Outside Innovation Imperative



  • LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT: Powered by customers' inventiveness
  • National Instruments: A thirty-year history of enabling customer innovation
  • Let Customers' Inventiveness Drive Your Business: Best practices in customer-led innovation


  • Help Customers Reach their Goals: Capturing customers' context and desired outcomes
  • Staples: Customers help bring a customers experience promise to life
  • Bathing Your Organization in Real-Time Customer Context: Using online communities to understand customers' passions, issues, and needs (Hallmark, Kraft, RC2, Schwab, Unilever)
  • Koko Fitness: Discovering baby boomers' health and fitness issues
  • Zopa: Creating a new financial services exchange: Peer-to-Peer Lending and Borrowing for "Freeformers"


  • Let Customers Strut Their Stuff: Profiting from Customer-Created Intellectual Property
  • Tripod Built a Multimillion Dollar Business from Customers' Creations: Early "publisher" shifted to user-created content
  • American Institute of Physics: A 200-year tradition of publishing customers' content
  • Harnessing Customers' Contributions as Guides, Problem Solvers and Reviewers: Customers will contribute much of your content if you make it easy for them to do so (Snap-on, Cisco, Amazon, IgoUgo)
  • The Blogosphere: Customer-created content run wild
  • Flickr Attracts Both Amateur and Professional Photographers from Around the World: Organize and tag my photos, appreciate and study yours
  • Why "Mash-Ups" Matter: Customers mix and match web-enabled services from different companies to support their scenarios
  • BBC's Backstage: Working interactively with lead users to support customer innovation
  • How does Customer-created Content Apply to my Business?


  • Promote and Leverage Open Source Development: Attracting and sustaining collaborative communities of peer producers
  • A Personal Introduction to Open Source Software: Open Source is, above all, customer-led development communities
  • Mozilla Firefox: Supporting innovation and choice by moving software to open source
  • Asterisk and Digium: Shaking up the telecom industry by harnessing customers' creativity
  • What Business Models Work in an Open Source World? Cohesive Financial Technologies: How a software start-up thinks through its options
  • Open Source Biotechnology: Enabling peer-production communitiesto share and build upon each others' intellectual property
  • Wikipedia: Applying open source principles to the development of a community-created encyclopedia: How much structure is enough?



  • Let Customers Co-Design and Promote Your Products
  • Threadless: Selling customers' designs to other customers
  • Muji: Engaging customers to help with product design
  • Karmaloop: Making a business out of catering to lead customers
  • The Ultimate Customer-Created Experiences: Virtual Worlds: The implications of online gaming: Your customers, kids and employees expect to co-design your business
  • Making Outside Innovation the "Path of Least Resistance" in your organization: A Blueprint for harnessing customer-led Innovation

CUSTOMER INNOVATION GUIDES ("How To" Companions to the original book--downloadable for free)

  1. Five Roles Your Customers Should be Playing: How engaged are your customers in shaping the future of your business?
  2. Identify and Study Your Lead Customers: Have you taken the first step towards customer-led innovation?
  3. Provide Customers with Tools to Use to Reach their Outcomes
  4. Nurturing Customer Communities
  5. Empower Customers to Strut their Stuff
  6. Open Up your Products and Engage Customers in Peer Production
  7. A Coordinated Game Plan for Business and IT Execs to Spur Outside Innovation