When customers become inventors

12/28/2009 | NYTimes.com

Companies are bringing corporate clients into the design room by inviting customers to attend brainstorming sessions at dedicated "customer innovation centers." The aim is to get a better sense of what customers actually need to accomplish in order to better keep R&D departments focused on marketable products. "By focusing on the customer, innovation centers may be a way to turn good managerial intentions into concrete, valuable products," writes Mary Tripsas, a Harvard Business School associate professor.

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