Tuesday, March 27, 2007

User-Driven Innovation

My April copy of Business 2.0 arrived yesterday. On pages 50 and 51 is a piece*, "Building a Better Book Club" on Tim Spaulding and LibraryThing, described in the article as "a social network based not on who you know but on what you've read."

It's a positive piece and deservedly so as LibraryThing clearly provides members with value by making a service lots of people want as well as offering an active role in designing the service as it develops.

There was a (to me) related article in the Sunday New York Times, "How to Improve It? Ask Those Who Use It."

Two quotes from each article.

On LibraryThing: "But Spaulding expects LibraryThing's real growth to come from using the community's collective wisdom to improve the way the world finds books [...] Spaulding's next target is to get into the business of advising libraries on how to manage their catalogs."

On user-driven innovation: "Mr. von Hippel [Sloan School of Management] is the leading advocate of the value of letting users of products modify them or improve them, because they may come up with changes that manufacturers never considered. [...] Mr von Hippel...says that as user communities...spread, they will dominate innovation."

*Jessamyn West is quoted as is Chris Locke (co-author of The Cluetrain Manifesto and, right now, embroiled in a blogosphere brouhaha with Kathy Sierra of Creating Passionate Users).

No comments: