In my opinion, customer insight and involvement is critical to all forms of innovation, including disruptive innovations. It should always be at least one of your starting points.
Of course customers wouldn't have come up with the car, but they would have came up with the need of getting from A to B more quickly. Equally, in the glasses example, we can learn from what customers say - "plastic lenses instead of glass lenses", "a scratch proof lens" and "a flexible frame" are all fantastic insights and great stimulus to generate ideas for solutions. After all, the contact lens solves all the real issues the customer is highlighting here. It is then up to innovation leaders along with the right mix of internal and external stakeholders to interpret the customer needs through a series of creative exercises and R&D processes.
To be fair to Paul he may well go on to say this (I've only seen the two minute clip), but ignore the customer at your peril in any type of innovation.
by Jesper Ekelund
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