If there was a book of secrets featuring Outside-In one chapter would focus on Steve Jobs observation You have to start with the customer experience and work backwards to the technology”
Watch the 5 minute video to get the perspective.
So what? We can really get to grip with the principle involved here with a couple of ideas. The first looks at the world which sees the organization and its resources as being the key strategic motivator. We have resources (people, systems, structure and so on) that develop products that we then approach the market with and pitch at customer segments. Hopefully gaining market share and establishing customers who buy the product. This model has really been the pervasive approach until this century. Born in the industrial age, updated and upgraded and taught in business schools globally as the way of business. We can represent that idea with this diagram – Inside-Out:
Until the explosion of information brought about by the internet this model worked OK. However with information customers have become choosey, promiscuous, fickle and have immediate and ever changing expectations. The resulting complexity – trying to sell many things to everyone – is the journey to ruin. Go ask Kodak, Nokia, Blockbuster and Blackberry how they have fared faced with the prosumer of the 21st century.
On the other hand we have a view of the world which starts with the customer experience (ala Apple, Emirates, Zappos, Zara and Virgin) and literally understands and then manages the expectations of the prosumer. This idea does not seek to segment customers by circumstance, but categorizes customers on the basis of need. This picture emerges – Outside-In:
By understanding customer needs, even when they may not know themselves, and developing appropriate products for your chosen categories of customer, the world is a simpler place. Yes you do also need to be flexible and agile to preempt (and for the best create new needs) however the starting point isn’t the product and the market. It is the customer and their needs.
Creating the necessary skills and competence to achieve Outside-In and deliver consistently improving results requires this foresight and understanding. The previous approach is as obsolete as the horse and cart is to the electric car.
So how can we do this? More on that soon however as a starter you can download a complimentary copy my book “Outside-In The secret of the 21st centuries leading companies” here.
Also join us and the global community exploiting the benefits of Outside-In:
Twitter: @stowers @jdodkins
More soon as we journey Outside-In.