4 Benefits to Collaborating with Customers

4 Benefits to Collaborating with Customers

By Jessica Day

Innovation, we can all agree, covers a wide range of sins. It can be incremental or it can be transformational. It can impact any aspect of an organization from products and processes to organizational structure and market position. What is changing in the world of innovation, however, is the trend towards open innovation.

The boundaries that once separated different disciplines are eliminated so that broadened conversations resulting in real-world solutions can include the voices of citizens, employees, customers, students, and more.

Many enterprise-level companies are adopting open innovation in order to guide their innovation initiatives. Here are a few benefits of reaching out to an external crowd of customers or end users in order to organize their efforts.

1. Increases Awareness. Every campaign that reaches out to the user for feedback is also an opportunity to engage new users and spread the word. For example, when Lego requested design ideas on Cuusoo, a Minecraft proposal received more than 10,000 votes within 48 hours. It also received 30,000 Facebook likes and 4,000 tweets. This is a great example of building an audience for a new product. And it is one of the great by-products of open innovation with customers.

2. Increase Loyalty. Customers are far more likely to stick with a company that values their opinion. If a customer makes a request and a company responds (even when it is to tell them that they cannot deliver on that idea right now), customers feel heard and valued. Additionally, Repeat customers spend 33% more than new customers. It is an investment in future business.

3. Lowering R&D Costs. Companies often report that they can cut back on their R&D budget, because they begin amassing large amounts of data for far less than they would have going through costly research programs. Developers can respond more swiftly and issues are resolved before they can become unruly or unmanageable.

4. Improve Employee Morale. A surprising side effect is that developers also feel more satisfied, because they see their work being put into use and responded to swiftly. And, as customers benefit from the changes that developers created in response to their request, they validate the company and its employees for that responsiveness. It is an easy way to create a rich, rewarding dialogue between external users and the creators on the frontlines.

Collaborating with customers on an innovation management platform is a valuable way to employ open innovation in any organization.

How are you utilizing open innovation? How is it impacting your organization?

image courtesy of dollarphotoclub.com


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