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Schrage Approves of the New Innovation Ecosystem

Well-known innovation and security expert Michael Schrage preaches that the innovation that matters is not what the innovator offers but what the customer adopts — and says that the best organizations are starting to use their customers as a source of innovative introspection. He explains: “The most valuable tools and technologies used internally to discover, design, and test new products and services can be creatively and cost-effectively sold or lent to customers, clients, and prospects, so that customers get a chance to ‘try before they buy.’ They can adopt and test new ideas and technologies before investing in them.” And here’s the thing: the companies that developed the new technologies “rapidly gain insights into the potential value of their wares — insights that might otherwise take years to gather.” Cisco began showing some customers its in-house simulations, and allowed the customers to adapt these design, configuration, and optimization models for their own use.” Schrage notes: “Cisco’s marketers and innovators had not expected this. But they swiftly grasped the implications. With some thought and polish, they repackaged these tools as customer design interaction platforms. Instead of simply “selling” customers on a complete design, they now conduct collaborative meetings in which prospects literally see and play out the architectural implications of their network priorities.” The result of all this is a new innovation ecosystem, one that makes it “easier, safer, and more advantageous for suppliers and customers to take a chance on one another