Are you getting your customers involved?

Economist has an interesting article The rise of the creative consumer where it highlights  how smart companies are taking advantage of their customer’s creativity in developing and designing products. 

Here’s an example of  how BMW did it.

BMW’s efforts to harness the creativity of its customers began two years ago, says Joerg Reimann, the firm’s head of marketing innovation management, when it posted a toolkit on its website. This toolkit let BMW‘s customers develop ideas showing how the firm could take advantage of advances in telematics and in-car online services. From the 1,000 customers who used the toolkit, BMW chose 15 and invited them to meet its engineers in Munich. Some of their ideas (which remain under wraps for now) have since reached the prototype stage, says BMW. “They were so happy to be invited by us, and that our technical experts were interested in their ideas,” says Mr Reimann. “They didn’t want any money.” BMW is now broadening its customer-innovation efforts


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