What Google Gets That Others Don’t: Innovation Evolves CustomersCustomers don’t just adopt innovations; they alter them, adapt to them, and are changed by them. Like economic Charles Darwins, successful innovators strive to observe and understand how their customers evolve.
Pick any product or service that matters. Google’s search engine. Credit cards. Boeing’s 747. The iPhone. Amazon’s recommendation engines. Microprocessors. Subprime mortgages. Indoor plumbing. Laparoscopic surgery. Fracking. Computer-aided design. Customer loyalty programs. The steam engine. Text messaging. GPS.
Pick any innovator who matters: Jeff Bezos. Steve Jobs. Henry Ford. Estée Lauder. Bob Noyce. Sam Walton. Werner Siemens. Coco Chanel. Matthew Boulton. Akio Morita. Eiji Toyoda. Walt Disney. Marvin Bower. Mark Zuckerberg.
Successful innovators don’t just ask customers and clients to do something different; they ask them to become someone different.
Facebook asks its users to become more open and sharing with their personal information, even if they might be less extroverted in real life. Amazon turned shoppers into information-rich consumers who could share real-time data and reviews, cross-check prices, and weigh algorithmic recommendations on their paths to online purchase. Who shops now without doing at least some digital comparisons of price and performance?