Should you involve customers? How radical and hedonic are you trying to be?

When does a firm benefit from customer co-creation?

The leading journal of product innovation, JPIM, has a cool YouTube channel to view short summaries of selected articles on innovation. I strongly recommend checking it every couple months for new posted videos. Even if, like me, you read the journal cover-to-cover every issue, it is interesting to see how the authors portray their research via video.

Readers of a blog originally titled “Service Co-creation” will undoubtedly be interested in this video – which asks when does a firm benefit from customer co-creation. The authors found that benefits from customer involvement vary based on whether the innovation is:

  • Incremental or Radical, and
  • Utilitarian or hedonic.

Watch the video to get the insights:

Video LInk




This full article is featured in the July issue of JPIM.

Again the video link is here.

Posted in Co-creation or User collaboration, communication, Customer Research Methods, NSD Process | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Essence of Service – In a Cartoon

In the middle of final editing for recently published Service Innovation we decided that we needed an illustration in Chapter 1, for our discussion of what service is. I sent a Facebook message to my talented daughter, Kiki Schirr, and asked her if she could send an illustration within 90 minutes. This is what she sent:

Service Innovation 6

The illustration is on page 8 of the book, published last month.

Frame 3 catches the essence of service: the value created with the customer. The young woman, together with the airline were able to create a memorable visit with loved ones.

Frame one adds a more nuanced view. The flight was crowded and noisy, but that was not important to this consumer who was creating a visit at the end. So other customers who might focus more on the experience during the use of the service might not have been as satisfied as the young woman was.

A service provider should understand the value creation process of customers. An effective service innovation process will focus on enhancing both the customer value creation and the service experience.

A single illustration can say a lot!




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All Products are #Service – Watch out Small Business?

A central theme in the new book Service Innovation is that “All Products are Service” and that all businesses accordingly should focus on the value-creation and experience of users.

Service InnovationOver 80% of the US economy is service by traditional measures, but increasingly goods are being sold on the basis of ad-on service such Onstar or extended warranties for cars. Servicization actually converts goods into service by providing the benefit of the good not selling the good: airlines pay for hours of thrust for their vehicles instead of buying jet engines; consumers  join monthly mobile phone plans that include keeping phones current. All product ARE service.

A recent post by Elke Stangl, a physicist and small businessperson in Austria, notes the phenomena “Everything as a Service” and argues that servicization bodes ill for small businesspeople.

Certainly when a customer commits to a service for an extended period or entrust another firm to effectively own assets for them, the image of financial stability or size may matter. Even more fundamentally Ms. Stangl raises the issue of the “winner take all” effect popularized by Nassim Taleb in the Black Swan. Due effective communication, globalization, network effects, and scale, services on the Internet seem to quickly have one or a small group of big winners with all other providers instantly marginalized.

Do you agree that “all products are service” or “everything as service” inherently favors large companies? Leads to a small group of winners?

How can small businesses adapt to servicization?



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Ideation is for INDIVIDUALS, not groups!

Group brainstorming is not a good way to generate innovation ideas.

In the Preface to Sprint, a book my entrepreneur daughter insisted I read, the author discusses his missteps using group brainstorming at Google.

He notes the group brainstorming sessions were “a lot of fun,” participants enjoyed the process, but… they did not generate successful ideas. The best ideas were generated by individuals “sitting at their desks, or waiting at a coffee shop, or taking a shower.”brainstorming3

Jake Knapp’s Preface is a good summary of what I found in a study of 50 years of research on group brainstorming.

Flawed Tools: The Efficacy of Group Research Methods to Generate Customer Ideas” which appeared in the Journal of Product Innovation Management reviewed five decades of experience and research on group brainstorming and some recent data. The study showed that compared to ideas generated by individuals, group methods produced:

  1. Fewer ideas,
  2. Fewer good ideas, and
  3. Fewer really creative ideas.

But… participants did enjoy the process and felt productive….

[Which raises an issue of whether groups might have a role to encourage organizational buy-in for innovation…]

But once again:


If you want to review the evidence check out the JPIM article here.

Posted in Customer Research Methods, Ideation, NSD Process, Service Design | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Innovation books – what do we NEED?

The process of listing my 16 favorite innovation books got me to thinking about what is missing – What is the “Blue Ocean” space in popular innovation reading?

I think I found two clear blue patches – Do you spot others?? Or do you think I missed a great book in those patches?


In the fall I listed my 16 favorite books on innovation. In alphabetical order by author they were:

  • Tim Brown                     Change by Design
  • David Burkus                 Myths of Creativity
  • Henry Chesbrough      Open Innovation
  • Clayton Christensen   The Innovators Dilemma
  • Peter Drucker                 Innovation and Entrepreneurship
  • Abbie Griffin                  Serial Innovators
  • Walter Isaacson             The Innovators
  • Ken Kahn                          PDMA Handbook of New Product Development III
  • Tom Kelley                      Creative Confidence
  • Mauborgne & Kim         Blue Ocean Strategy
  • Geoffrey Moore              Crossing the Chasm
  • Gina C. O’Connor          Grabbing Lightning
  • Eric Ries                            Lean Innovation
  • Gerald Tellis                     Will and Vision
  • Stefan Thomke               Experimentation
  • Eric von Hippel               Democratizing Innovation

To read more about this list see the previous two posts in this blog – Part I or Part II or the summary on LinkedIn.

What is missing?

I would classify the topics of the 16 books above into four categories:

  1. Innovation processes (design thinking, lean, experiment, lead users, disruption, etc.)
  2. Strategy for innovation in an organization (blue ocean, open, etc.)
  3. Fostering individual creativity and innovation
  4. Fostering innovation in an organization.

So what is missing that we would expect in such a list?

Ten or 15 years ago we would have expected something on the Internet but the Internet is ubiquitous by now. One could claim that social media is everywhere today, but I was still surprised that I hadn’t found a great book on:

  • Social Innovation – Either using social in the innovation process OR innovating in the social media space itself.

The other clear gap or blue patch that I see is in service. (Of course I started a blog on service co-creation 5 years ago…) The majority of the world’s GDP is services, over 80% in most of Europe and 90% in the U.S. Services are different. Yet no book in my list is focused specifically on innovation of service. Service has a major influence of course – the iteration and experimentation that underlies most of the new approaches has been facilitated by the ease of making changes in services. Yet there again seems to be a vivid large blue space:

  • Service Innovation – Either innovation of service offerings or services provided with goods.*

I ask the reader if (1) you see another blue patch I missed and/or (2) if I should review a book that fits in one of those spaces.


*Note: I am a co-author (with three impressive scholars) of a book on service innovation that should be released this spring. Trust me – you will hear more about that book as the launch date approaches.


Other innovation books

A reader suggested Econovation by Faktor should be considered for the list. Other lists of innovation books include:

Again, after reading through these other lists, this reader still spots the key blue spaces:

  1. Social Innovation, and
  2. Service Innovation.

What is missing?

Posted in Co-creation or User collaboration, effectuation, entrepreneurship, experiential innovation, Experiment, NSD Process, Service Design, service-dominant logic of marketing, Social Media Marketing, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

2016 Resolutions

First of all… Happy 2016 everyone!

2015 Christmas Pic

I can’t claim a great deal of success with my previous New Year’s resolutions. I believe the research that indicates that we should aim to change a few HABITS and ignore grand resolutions. But in the spirit of starting anew… and with the knowledge that I do have a start on all of these, my 2016 resolutions are:

  1. To reactivate this blog! ( I guess this is a start!)
  2. To publish all of my conference papers (I have been working on…)
  3. A target weight (I am already 20% or so on the way to my goal)
  4. To exercise every morning (10 days so far) and
  5. To publish a book (A collaboration is in editing…)

Since all of them are underway this is sort of like working on habits, right?

So I am sort of following the science.

What do you think of resolutions? What are YOURS?

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My very favorite books on #innovation : K to Z

Innovation FlickrHere are the remaining nine of my 16 favorite innovation books. As I related in the discussion of the first 7 books in my last post, these books are my personal favorite books on innovation and are listed in alphabetic order by author. There may be some subjectivity in this list: all are from my bookshelf and there are none from authors I personally dislike.

8.  Ken Kahn                  PDMA Handbook of New Product Development III

I valued the first two editions of this handbook from the leading association for product innovation when I was involved in product development and again when I started my research. Nice short summaries of key topics from leading scholars and practitioners. The new edition, under the editorship of Ken Kahn – associate dean of the da Vinci Center for Innovation at VCU, is as good or even better than the first two! And Ken invited me to contribute a chapter!

9.  Tom Kelley               Creative Confidence

IDEO book two… Everyone can be creative if they are allowed to! How to facilitate and tap into that creativity. Read it and create!

10. Mauborgne & Kim  Blue Ocean Strategy

I like this approach which is based on the marketing concept of mapping product attributes and finding gaps. The stories are compelling. However, I was disturbed by a conversation I had with Dr. Mauborgne at a conference: he told me that his team had been able to find a firm that had successfully executed a blue ocean strategy more than once!

Continue reading

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