Book Review: Inside Your Customer’s Imagination

Posted by Kristin Arnold on February 22, 2021

As a facilitator of myriad customer experience conversations, journeys, and maps, I have always been interested in this idea of “co-creation” to develop new products and services in a collaborative way.  Rather than assuming we know what the customer wants or needs, hosting focus groups, or creating customer advisory boards, what about asking a specific client to partner in the “co-creation” of a new product or service offering?

Chip Bell, in his latest book, Inside Your Customer’s Imagination: 5 Secrets for Creating Breakthrough Products, Services, and Solutions provides a playbook for identifying and collaborating with your customers.

This book is a treasure trove of ideas and real-world examples to tap into your customer’s brilliance. Not all of them will resonate with you – but it’s a great springboard for thinking about how YOU can create partnerships with your customers!

And how do you do that?

It starts with inviting and attracting their creative contributions by “communicating to your marketplace that you are a resource for experimentation and thus open to collective discovery.”  You then begin to build the relationship by clarifying the collective focus and agreeing on the guardrails – even before you start whiteboarding a plan and crafting the ideas!

The main thesis of the book is that “a co-creation partnership takes

1) curiosity that uncovers insight,

2) grounding that promotes clear focus,

3) discovery that fosters risk-taking and experimentation,

4) trust that safeguards partnership purity and wholeness, and

5) passion that inspires energized generosity.”

And the payoff?  The journey leads to ingenious outcomes and a customer who emerges as an advocate.

Five elements seem like a lot, but Bell has broken each element down into bite-sized chunks with lots of actionable ideas and examples.  It certainly got my wheels turning!  It will become my new reference book for customer co-creation!

KRISTIN ARNOLD, MBA, CPF | Master, CSP is a high-stakes meeting facilitator and professional panel moderator.  She’s been facilitating teams of executives and managers in making better decisions and achieving greater results for over 27 years.  She is the author of the award-winning book, Boring to Bravo: Proven Presentation Techniques to Engage, Involve and Inspire Audiences to Action.  Her latest book, 123 Ways to Add Pizazz to a Panel Discussion was published in January 2021.

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