Tuesday, June 20, 2006

What Library Customers Want vs. What They Do? Part 2

An article by William C. Taylor entitled To Charge Up Customers, Put Customers in Charge appeared in the June 18th online edition of New York Times. The article begins by discussing customer-based shoe design and involving customers with brands by way of co-creation.

The article quotes MIT Sloan College of Management professor Eric von Hippel who calls this bottom-up phenomenon "lead-user innovation." He argues that companies that aspire to stand out in fast-moving markets would be wise to invite their smartest users into the product design process. His quote sounds strangely familiar:

"This is not traditional market research - asking customers what they want. This is identifying what your most advanced users are already doing and understanding what their innovations mean for the future of your business."

This discussion is exactly what many have been discussing, including myself, in relationship to to library innovation and the Librarian's Dilemma.

With the availability of software tools and the relative ease in creating new ones, it is getting cheaper for library customers to innovate on their own. By involving our customers in the creation of new library systems we will in effect be involving our customers ownership of the library. In the end, customers would likely be more willing to use library systems they had a hand in creating. Sphere: Related Content

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