Innovation is Always Driven by Customer Choices

Almost every industry is now using innovation as a primary weapon in the pursuit of competitive advantage. The pressure on businesses to constantly innovate and release new products and services at increasing rates is growing. Customers have high standards, and they express their dissatisfaction openly if the next thing isn’t as ground-breaking as they had hoped.

Companies are beginning to understand that the requirements and wants of their customers aren’t necessarily reflected in the results of traditional innovation techniques like in-house product development, focus groups, and market research. More and more companies are realising they need to place the consumer at the centre of their innovation strategies in order to close this gap.

Companies are reaching out to customers earlier in the product development process than ever before to get their feedback and ideas. Consumers can now provide input during the ideation and design phases, rather than waiting until the testing phase, all thanks to the widespread availability of social media and other forms of instantaneous communication enabled by modern technologies. By working together, businesses may cut down on the time and money it takes to create new products and services. Simultaneously, it reduces the likelihood of poor product performance or, worse, total failure.

Achieving success by making it work.

In our most recent research, Customer-focused growth: rising expectations and emerging opportunities, we delved into the topic of customer-driven innovation. Business owners need to know not only why and how they will collaborate with customers, but also how to do it effectively.

Here are some tips:

Start wisely and finish strongly.


Incorporating consumer feedback into the design process is something that most businesses already know to be beneficial. However, in order to achieve the best outcomes, they must guarantee they have a sound business case.

Leaders should always be thinking about the bigger picture. Developing avenues for customers to offer feedback and suggestions costs money, therefore businesses must weigh this expense against the potential revenue gained from introducing innovative products. This is why it’s essential to calculate the return on investment for customer-driven innovation.

Be honest with yourself and your customers about the limits of any innovation process, including one driven by customers. More often than breakthroughs are smaller concepts that have been tried, improved, changed, and tested again. Think about taking baby steps; run a test of your new procedure on a select number of people first. You can iron out any problems with the innovation sourcing initiative before opening it out to the general public.

Regulations of the road.

Businesses can go in any direction the process of innovation decides to take them. By outlining guidelines for new product creation, you may drive your customers’ and employees’ innovative energies in the most beneficial way for your business. The expectations of your customers must also be managed, as not all innovations driven by customers will result in the next great thing.

Executives need to think carefully about what kinds of novel concepts the organisation will and will not accept. In most cases, the company’s risk tolerance will be a major factor in answering questions like:

  • Are acquisitions acceptable?
  • Will we only consider collaborating with companies that share our corporate values?
  • Is outsourcing a feasible strategy?
  • Do we have any aversions to particular kinds of products or markets?

Insight and guidance can be gained from the responses of all parties involved in the innovation process. Following a set of rules can help you prioritise your thoughts and refine those that are “almost there” before making the final, life-altering decision to pursue them.

Maintain your base.


When it comes to soliciting client ideas, input, and feedback, there is always a chance that those who respond are not reflective of your primary customer base. It is essential to avoid basing judgments on the input of a vociferous minority.

Before you solicit consumer feedback, consider the following:

  • Which customer segments provide the majority of our sales?
  • Who they are, what they desire, and how they make purchases?
  • Do these categories represent our market as a whole?

You should reach out to these buyers because their feedback will strengthen your innovation strategies.

Large corporations usually have a firm grasp on their most lucrative clientele because they have access to or can afford to collect copious volumes of customer data. Focus groups, in-market research, and identifying key influencers can assist start-ups and SMEs in narrowing in on their true primary clientele, which can be a more time-consuming and difficult task.

In a social context

If you want to get feedback from customers on your products and services, social media is a good place to start, but it shouldn’t be your only innovation approach. Businesses need to consider the potential impact of social media on customer-driven innovation before committing to any significant new projects. Marketing, sales, and customer service are three uses of social media that may see the most success.

When a business listens to the social media conversations happening around its products and services without actively participating in them, it can still learn valuable information about what its customers value and what they find lacking. These realisations have equal potential for stimulating creative endeavours. Get ready to hear the good and the bad if you choose to actively participate in social media.

Balancing old and new

Business owners now have a powerful tool at their disposal to generate unique concepts for products, services, and operational procedures thanks to customer-driven innovation. However, they shouldn’t ignore the significance of more conventional approaches. Taking a moderate stance is preferable in our opinion.


We anticipate that customer-driven innovation will become a viable channel inside an organization’s innovation strategy in the future.

Add a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment