Bringing it in from the outside

Importing, outsourcing, crowd sourcing and focus groups have long been the bastions of organisations looking to ensure they are still in touch with their customers and at the pointy end of the market.

in many ways this is an excellent measure, and a responsible one, to help ensure the business remains relevant and (ultimately) profitable. I personally feel there is a risk faced by some organisations (and I think the "organisation" part is the key, not the "business" part) of forgetting what is important to them by relying on external influences rather than sticking to their guns.

Before you protest, I know there are situations where businesses and companies make catastrophic mistakes and errors of judgement. The influence of groupthink and sheer arrogance are very real in the business world. My point lies in my belief that every organisation is built on a tradition, a history and a culture. By sticking to these an organisation can confirm its place with customers and amongst competitors.

By relying on current marketplace and consumer opinion to determine the direction into the future there is a serious risk of becoming stale. The key to business and entrepreneurship is innovation. Trying to achieve something that hasn't been tried before has guided many organisations, large and small, to success. If we lose the drive to create something special despite knowing it may not work we lose the very innovation which has brought us to where we are today.

Particularly in the technology industries, but more generally as well, there have been products created which the market saw no use for at the time. To me, this is not a negative thing, and is where and why external opinion should be brought in. Through good business practice - specifically not over investing in your new idea and protecting it through patents and trademarks - an organisation can prepare itself well as the leader in the field.