5 Questions To Foster Customer-Centric Innovation

By Bryan Sander, CCXP posted 06-15-2022 11:55 AM


Recently Jim Ryan and I gave a talk to AAA leaders about customer-centered innovation… We included 5 discussion topics leaders at any level could use... with your board, your executive team, or your whole org.  

All are open-ended designed to help you stimulate dialogue, rather than get binary Y/N answers.

1 – How are our product choices customer-driven?
Are our products designed “outside-in?” When we think about something we consider an innovation for our brand, was it born out of an opportunity to improve the customer experience?  Remember: the best innovations come from learning our customers’ (or prospects’) perspective…  Leverage the insights from customers to guide innovation objectives and priorities.

2 – How are we building rapid testing into our DNA?
How are we enabling rapid testing of ideas?  Do we have the failure tolerance and collaborative operating models to increase our strength to innovate?  Better still do we reframe “failure” as “what did we just learn from that?”

3 - How are we mining our digital channel data?
How are we putting "digital funnel data" to work?  Today’s digital channels have incredible instrumentation that shows you exactly how customers are behaving… how are we learning about our customers’ preferences by observing their digital behaviors?

4 – How are we organized to be customer-centric?
Does our org structure enable (or at least remove barriers to) innovation, or slow it down? Customer problems often stem from poorly designed handoffs across internal functions... where are our handoffs weak? What if we organized around a given customer flow, and put design/product/marketing/ops/service for a product line into a single team? 

5 – How do we spot emerging consumer trends?

Customer-centric innovation requires the ability to scan the horizon and "see around corners."  Are we researching non-traditional markets to learn about new, emerging consumer expectations? Should we elevate our market research or “customer listening” function and task them with prioritizing customer interests, wants, and needs? Could we engage our local start-up and venture communities to learn what they’re doing?

What about you? Would love to hear additional ideas about how you foster innovation in your org!