Seeing customers as partners in innovation
“As a company, 3M is at the forefront of a movement that appears to be gaining traction: customer innovation centers, typically located near company research facilities, that provide a forum for meeting with corporate customers and engaging them directly in the innovation process. […]
The idea behind the centers is to foster innovation by combining a richer understanding of customer needs with creative links among 3M technologies. â€œBeing customer-driven doesnâ€™t mean asking customers what they want and then giving it to them,â€ says Ranjay Gulati, a professor at the Harvard Business School. â€œItâ€™s about building a deep awareness of how the customer uses your product.â€”
Even though travel and accommodation was paid by 3M, against New York Times policy, the article is worth a read.