Do we actually know what being customer focused is?

This DTI commissioned report on "Innovation through people centred design – lessons from the USA" points to the importance of including customer understanding (though a range of research tools) for identifying long term, innovative opportunities as well as incremental improvements. As a memo for why this stuff is important, it is helpful. It might suggest ways we could build on the channels research to meet the needs of a business strategy and it is also highlights the difficulty of getting customer focus embeded in any organisation, particularly below senior level to combat technology led strategy.

In the immediate term, and given changes to the e-services project, some of the theories – e.g. some customer input, a more multi-disciplinary team- might help?


  1. Interesting stuff. A couple of further connections (without having got beyond the executive summary).
    1.IDEO, which is one of companies visited which practices these techniques, developed the ‘deep dive’ technique for industrial design, which was then picked up by IMD at Lausanne, converted to a business process development methodology, sold to Cisco, used by Cisco at their public services summit I went to before Christmas and in a very watered down version, used by the PSD board with Cisco facilitation at their strategy event in January. It’s a small world.
    2. Some of these approaches were also used in the formative stages of what became Directgov, with some very interesting work by Sapient using quasi-anthropological techniques. There was some very powerful material on the impact on people of unjoined up government – and a curious message that Directgov needed to be moderately boring if it was going to be credible as the voice of government.

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