The Business of Innovation: The role of customers
In Part 3 of CNBC's Business of Innovation series, Maria Bartiromo and co-host Roger Schank focus on the role of the customer during the innovation process. In some cases, it appears that "old dogs" can learn "new tricks" by listening to their customers. At eBay and LEGO, for example, customers are actively leading the product innovation process. Other companies, such as Moen, are tapping into cutting-edge ideas such as customer anthropology in order to understand what customers want and need.
The segment includes interviews with eBay CEO Meg Whitman and former Viacom bigwig Tom Freston, as well as short clips featuring Muhammad Yunus (winner of the Nobel Prize for his work in micro-finance lending), LEGO Mindstorms, TurboTap and Callaway Golf. One of the highlights of the program is the insightful commentary from Eric von Hippel of MIT, who explains how "lead users" are driving innovation in many different industries. (Former readers of the Business Innovation Insider may remember Eric's fascinating presentation at the FORTUNE Innovation Forum featuring the Dogtown and Z-Boys skateboarding film).
[image: CNBC "Business of Innovation"]
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Research by neuroscientists at MIT's Picower Institute for Learning and Memory helps explain how the brain regulates arousal.
The big day has come: You are taking your road test to get your driver's license. As you start your mom's car with a stern-faced evaluator in the passenger seat, you know you'll need to be alert but not so excited that you make mistakes. Even if you are simultaneously sleep-deprived and full of nervous energy, you need your brain to moderate your level of arousal so that you do your best.
A disturbing interview given by a KGB defector in 1984 describes America of today and outlines four stages of mass brainwashing used by the KGB.
- Bezmenov described this process as "a great brainwashing" which has four basic stages.
- The first stage is called "demoralization" which takes from 15 to 20 years to achieve.
- According to the former KGB agent, that is the minimum number of years it takes to re-educate one generation of students that is normally exposed to the ideology of its country.
When these companies compete, in the current system, the people lose.
- When a company reaches the top of the ladder, they typically kick it away so that others cannot climb up on it. The aim? So that another company can't compete.
- When this happens in the pharmaceutical world, certain companies stay at the top of the ladder, through broadly-protected patents, at the cost of everyday people benefitting from increased competition.
- Since companies have worked out how to legally game the system, Amin argues we need to get rid of this "one size fits all" system, which treats product innovation — "tweaks" — the same as product invention.
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