Entovation International - Delivering Knowledge Innovation Strategies for the Millennium
Customer Innovation: A Function of Knowledge

by Debra M. Amidon
Founder and Chief Strategist ENTOVATION International, Ltd.

This is an abstract of an article that is published in the Journal of Customer Relationships, a publication of Technology Solutions. (November 1997)

Customers have always been integral to the innovation process. What else is the purpose of productization and commercialization? However, current global business conditions have shed new light on the value of customer interactions and the scope and structure of the innovation process itself. Moreover, what good are your customers if they are satisfied, but not successful? This renewed orientation toward the nature of the customer interface itself has led to a view of customers as a source of knowledge, not someone to whom goods and services are delivered. This article will define some of the elements of this new economy, provide a rationale for the innovation value-system and illustrate how companies can manage the development of their new products and services to fulfill unarticulated customer needs and unserved markets. This is the only road to sustainable competitive advantage.


  • Conditions for the Knowledge Economy
  • Historic Roots
  • Rationale for the Value-System
  • Multi-Form Customer Interface
  • Focus on Customer Success
  • Summary

Customer Focused Advertising
What follows are marketing messages which have been tracked to this new concept of customer partnering.

"Customerize" - Unisys (WSJ 94)

"Relationships That Endure"; "CIGNA - A Century of Financial Partnership" - Citibank (WSJ 1/19/95)

"Our Business is Helping You Stay Focused" - General Electric (WSJ 1/19/95)

"Facing the Issues that Face our Customers." - Liberty Mutual (WSJ 3/28/95)

"If it is Your Concern, It's Our Concern." - Chrysler Corporation (WSJ 2/28/95)

"Good relationships need careful nurturing. We call our approach 'Total Customer Care.'" - Schott (WSJ 6/95)

"If integrity, trust and genuine caring matter to you, you're not alone. They matter to us too." - Transnational Life Companies (Fortune - 6/95)

"There are people who know your business as well as you do." - Aetna Life & Casualty (Fortune - 6/95)

"Only someone who knows where you come from can take you where you are going." - Bell Atlantic (WSJ 7/27/95)

"It's Time You Knew Us as our Customers Do" - SGS Thompson (Fortune - 7/95)

"Helping Investors Help Themselves" - Charles Schwab & Co. (Fortune - 7/95)

"Imagine What We Can Do For You." - Software AG (WSJ 8/24/95)

"At Parker, Our Customer Relationships Run Deep" - Parker Hannifin Corporation (WSJ - 8/24/95)

"Delivering Excellent Customer Service" - Kellogg School/Northwestern University (WSJ - 8/24/95) "Our Business is Helping Yours." - General Electric Capital Services (WSJ - 8/29/95)

"Keeping You Ahead of the Game." - Bell South (WSJ - 9/26/95)

"A Vested Interest in Your Success." - Everen Securities (WSJ - 9/26/95)

Copyright 1997 ENTOVATION International, Ltd. All rights reserved.

Full Text of Article

To focus on your customer see Profiles of Customer Innovation


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Last updated: 13 Aug 1999