Consumer-Driven Innovation Management
Pp. 385-404 (20)
Arcot Desai Narasimhalu and Shekhar Mitra
The evolution of human society leads to increased affluence and prosperity of
certain populations, sometimes at the expense of well-established markets. Market leaders
in products and services tend to be so focused on their current customer base that they are
caught off guard with the changes in markets created by the evolution. These changes often
go unnoticed until it is too late. The change in customer base often requires the
repositioning of products and services through innovations, which address new and
emerging markets. Some of these changes could potentially result in tectonic market shifts
that force innovation managers to involve current and future customer bases in order to
help understand the opportunities that can lead to innovation. The nature of these
innovations could span the range from addressing the mundane needs of developing
countries to meeting the wishful aspirations of mature markets. Firms are often at a loss on
when and how to use customer-inspired insights in the goal to create new innovations.
Innovation management takes on a new art form that engages customers, allowing them to
reveal their unmet needs. Such a fuzzy front-end process demands new engagement styles
and structures that are less obvious to those who use traditional tools such as surveys and
focus group research. This chapter identifies the challenges faced by firms in responding to
a less-traversed approach toward using customers to identify innovation opportunities, and
suggests methods to manage such challenges.
Innovation, consumer-insights, fuzzy front-end.
Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Singapore Management University, Singapore