According to MIT innovation expert and thought leader Michael Schrage, if you aren’t asking this question, your strategic marketing and innovation efforts will fail.
In this latest HBR Single, Schrage provides a powerful new lens for getting more value out of innovation investment. He argues that asking customers to do something different doesn’t go far enough—serious marketers and innovators must ask them to become something different instead. Even more, you must invest in their capabilities and competencies to help them become better customers.
Schrage’s primary insight is that innovation is an investment in your client, not just a transaction with them. To truly innovate today, designing new products or features or services won’t get you there. Only by designing new customers—thinking of their future state, being the conduit to their evolution—will you transform your business.
Schrage explains how the above question (what he calls “The Ask”) will incite you and your team to imagine and design ideal customer outcomes as the way to drive your business’s future. The Single is organized around six key insights and includes practical exercises to help you apply the question to your current situation. Schrage also includes examples from well-known companies—Google, Facebook, Disney, Starbucks, Apple, IKEA, Dyson, Ryanair, and others—to illustrate just what is possible when you apply “The Ask.”
Marketing executives, brand managers, strategic innovators, and entrepreneurs alike should understand how successful innovation rebrands the client and not the product. A requisite question for its time, Who Do You Want Your Customers To Become will liberate you and your team from ‘innovation myopia’—and turn your innovation efforts on their head.
HBR Singles provide brief yet potent business ideas, in digital form, for today's thinking professional.
Table of contents
- Title Page
- Register This Book
- Introduction: The Ask
- Innovation Transforms Customers
- Getting Beyond Marketing (and Strategic) Myopia
- Internalizing “The Ask”: Understand What Innovators Ask You to Become
- Transformational Insights: Revisiting—and Revising—the Fundamentals
- Key Insight #1: Innovation is an investment in human capital—in the capabilities and competencies of your customers. Your future depends on their future.
- Key Insight #2: Innovation is about designing customers, not just new products, new services, and new user experiences.
- Key Insight #3: Customer vision is as important as corporate vision. Your corporate vision and mission statement should respect and reflect your vision of the customer.
- Key Insight #4: Align customer vision (what you want your customers to become) with user experience (what you are asking them to do).
- Key Insight #5: If you can’t be your own best beta, find and design the customers who can.
- Key Insight #6: Anticipate—and manage—the dark side of The Ask.
- Conclusion: Going Further with The Ask
- Crowdsourcing The Ask: An Invitation to Comment on This Book
- The Origins of The Ask
- About the Author
- Title: Who Do You Want Your Customers to Become?
- Release date: July 2012
- Publisher(s): Harvard Business Review Press
- ISBN: None
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