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      What We're Reading: Who Do You Want Your Customers to Become? by Michael Schrage

      By Owen Knott

      11-16-2012

      An exploration of the customer-centric mindset

      Customers.pngWho Do You Want Your Customers to Become? explores how successful innovators reinvent their customers as well as their business.  For example, Henry Ford is widely hailed as an innovator of the auto industry because his factory assembly model created new drivers, not just new cars.  His story is one example of how innovation made the customer better, and in turn made better customers. 

       

      Perhaps one of the more salient examples of our time is Khan Academy, which is now the largest "school" with 10 million students who access free online instruction on a myriad of subjects.  Khan Academy is revolutionizing the education industry and how "customers" approach knowledge and learning. 

       

      So the question becomes:  who are your customers and how can you transform how they consume your product or service?  In the nonprofit sector, we often ask that question with the end goal of creating a better world and fostering a more healthy, educated and just society.  But how often do we completely reimagine our customers' situations, look past what they are asking for, and create something totally new and innovative?  Something that transforms how our customers think, behave, adapt and grow?

       

      In the end, Schrage pushes the reader to envision a world where innovation aims beyond products or services to touch the very nature of human experience.