Innovating to Delight Customers

Source: Forbes, Nov 2011

The way to continuous innovation and sustainable economic growth

In this new world, the bottom of line of business isn’t profits but rather customer delight, i.e. the provision of a continuous stream of additional value to customers and delivering it sooner. As a result of epochal shift of power in the marketplace from seller to buyer, the customer is now in charge.

We now live in the age of customer capitalism. Making money and corporate survival now depend not merely on pushing products at customers but rather on delighting them so that they want to keep on buying. To prosper, firms must have knowledge workers who are continuously innovating and delivering a steady supply of new value to customers and delivering it sooner.

Focusing everyone in the organization on delivering additional value to customers is what gives a firm resilience. As a result, as Ranjay Gulati explains in his book, Reorganize for Resilience (HBP, 2010), the firm’s goal has to become one of serving customers: i.e. a shift from inside-out perspective (“You take what we make”) to an outside-in perspective (“We seek to understand your problems and will surprise you by solving them”).

Focusing everyone in the organization on delivering additional value to customers is what gives a firm resilience. As a result, as Ranjay Gulati explains in his book, Reorganize for Resilience (HBP, 2010), the firm’s goal has to become one of serving customers: i.e. a shift from inside-out perspective (“You take what we make”) to an outside-in perspective (“We seek to understand your problems and will surprise you by solving them”).

The purpose of a firm is to serve its clients and its bottom line become: are the customers delighted?

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