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All aspirants must know about group discussion So far we have looked at single companies involving customers more deeply and more directly in the innovation process related to group discussion. This can be a source of real value for the customers, new revenues for the company, and competitive advantage for the company. But more can be done if we start to consider the power of co-creation across an entire industry based on discussions. As we shall see, co-creation can revive failing businesses, unleash new markets, and provide far more meaningful experiences to customers. The music industry provides a clear example. The recorded coaching industry has experienced tremendous change over the past decade. The sale of CDs is down substantially. Record companies are losing money. Piracy is rampant as many users download music illegally without paying. Legal online delivery channels are selling more songs, but these sales are not enough to compensate for the loss of the CD sales, and margins to the record company are reportedly lower through online channels. In addition, online channels typically sell single tracks rather than entire CDs, so the price point per unit of music sold is much lower as well. These developments have created a crisis for traditional record companies. Their market is declining, their profits are declining, and how to turn this situation around is far from clear. More fundamentally, the record companies argue, new artists suffer the most from this state of affairs. The online sales channels can sell the work of established artists quite well, but this goes only so far. The Rolling Stones may still be recording new albums when they are in their eighties, for example, but whether anyone will still want to buy them is unknown. When a business finds itself in serious decline, it is an appropriate time for new thinking and experimentation as well. Knowing that the status quo is no longer sustainable, however, does not identify what to do next. In cases like this, it helps to get back to the customers, the source of value creation in the industry, to determine what can be done to create new, more powerful, more valuable experiences for lots of customers. There are many possible answers, and the best ones are far from obvious at the outset. Instead, one must take risks, run experiments, and pay attention to the results. One such experiment was done by the alternative music group Radiohead when it launched its most recent album, In Rainbows, in fall 2007 with a highly unusual offering to its audience on its Web site. It said, in essence, "Here are the tracks of the new album. Pay us whatever you wish for it." "It's up to you" is the way the site put it. The customer, not the band and certainly not the record company, set the price. This is what all aspirants must know about group discussion. From the perspective of the traditional record company, this was madness. High-quality music available for whatever users wanted to pay was simply an invitation to legal piracy and would destroy any commercial prospects for the album, they said. Worse, some record company executives argued, this experiment devalued music for all artists and was destroying the very fabric of the music business.


All aspirants must know about group discussion