You know how consumers line up when big brands (read Nintendo) release their latest game? People put up tents and camp out overnight just to make sure they get a copy. If you are the marketing person behind such campaign it must feel great to see those people lining up. Working with business-2-business software marketing for the past 15 years it seemed unlikely that I would ever experience something like that. But last week it finally happened.
About 10 minutes after a customer installed our first business app from Android Market he sent me an e-mail with the words; “Wow, awesome…looks really cool, works perfectly”. After another 10 minutes I got a copy of an e-mail to his colleague with the comment, “look here, you should really try this app”.
Great innovations doesn’t necessarily translate into large investments. More important is a clever design that exactly solves a certain problem. That’s why the creativity process needs knowledge and inspiration from your customers and stakeholders. The problem, however, is to get the customers to tell us exactly how they work and what their challenges are. You normally don’t get that kind of information in a conference room over a Danish pastry and a cup of coffee.
Instead you need to get so close to your customer that you can actually study their day-to-day business environment (where the how and what takes place), understand what is going on, and finally present them with a solution as quickly and cost-efficiently as possible. How can we move from just listening to our customers in a conference room to getting them involved in our product development? I’m talking about moving the engineer (problem solver) from the safe desk in the office to the hot seat at the customers environment.
We have taken some good steps forward at IFS in the past couple of years but more needs to be done. Here is a video how we involve our customers in the creativity and innovation process—I hope it will give you some inspiration
”Where all think alike, no one thinks very much” – Walter Lippman