LEGO Group is a successful designer and manufacturer of toys aimed at meeting the changing needs of different children. This company engages its customers through the use of various online platforms, such as its website and social media networks. The concept of innovation is what guides LEGO’s actions, initiatives, and objectives. To achieve its goals, this organization encourages clients to attend festivals and present their ideas (Robertson & Lineback 2017). Individuals are also required to be part of web-based platforms to offer new insights and innovative concepts. This company also liaises with different customers to learn more about sustainable development technologies that can deliver friendly toys, reduce its footprint on the natural environment and maximize the experiences of all children. This paper describes different ways customers can be involved in a firm’s product development. It goes further to discuss the major drawbacks and benefits of such an initiative.
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Customer Involvement in Product Development, Benefits, and Drawbacks
Involving Customers in a Firm’s Product Development Activities
Successful businesses are usually aware of the demands and bargaining powers of their customers. Firms that involve their clients in product development procedures will have increased chances of becoming more competitive and maximizing their profits. There are several strategies that organizational leaders can consider to engage them. Firstly, firms can establish or promote emotional connections with their respective customers. This approach ensures that more individuals relate positively to the targeted firm. Consequently, the level of consumer loyalty will increase. Secondly, organizations can establish community forums or groups that can respond to different questions and acquire new insights for transforming performance (Robertson & Lineback 2017). Thirdly, firms can introduce new contests whereby participants can present their concepts or strategies for producing superior and admirable services or goods.
Fourthly, business companies can consider the importance of utilizing different technologies to engage their customers. For example, the use of social media sites can guide organizational leaders to predict individual’s demands and expectations. LEGO Group has been focusing on this kind of strategy to ensure that more customers are part of the innovative process. Fifthly, businesses can design new models and deliver exclusive content to the targeted clients. Loyalty programs and influencer platforms make it possible for many people to provide their reviews and ideas regarding a particular service or product (Robertson & Lineback 2017). The acquired information will support the innovative process. Finally, the research and development (R&D) team should monitor the ideas, complaints, and feedback different customers present and utilize them to produce superior services or goods.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Co-Development Practices
Co-development partnerships or collaborations have become common in many business firms across the world. Such measures are capable of transforming the existing business model, improving innovation, and delivering new products promptly. There are various benefits associated with these practices. The first one is that companies that embrace them will be in a position to produce innovative products for their customers. Secondly, the entire process of delivering the intended items will be streamlined and completed within a short period. Thirdly, the company’s top management will acquire additional ideas and concepts for implementing the concept of continuous improvement. Fourthly, more customers and stakeholders will begin to associate with the firm, thereby resulting in increased profits. Some good examples of companies embracing such initiatives include LEGO Group and Apple Corporation (Boukhris, Fritzche & Möslein 2017). Fifthly, firms that promote co-development practices will achieve positive results in other areas, such as sustainability, product quality, and customer satisfaction. Such organizations will eventually translate such benefits into increased profits.
However, some drawbacks will emerge when companies rely heavily on co-development practices. The first one is that such firms will have to incur numerous expenses in an attempt to launch such a model. The second weakness is that some insights from customers and their stakeholders might not be relevant, thereby delaying product or service delivery. The third issue to consider is that co-development initiatives are usually inapplicable when strict always and guidelines are in place. For instance, customers in need of toys that are powered using fuel might not have their needs met. The fourth weakness is that the entire process requires a lot of time to gather insights from different clients and implement them efficiently (Robertson & Lineback 2017). The fifth challenge associated with co-development practices is that many companies might forget the needs and expectations of customers who do not present their views. This is true since firms cannot consider the demands of all stakeholders during every product development process.
The above discussion has revealed that LEGO Group is a leading competitor that capitalizes on the concept of customer engagement. This approach can become a powerful model for companies that intend to involve their clients and design innovative products to fulfill their demands. All managers should acknowledge that the use of co-development practices can improve performance, transform existing strategies and make their firms more sustainable. Unfortunately, the occurrence of these challenges will affect profitability: increased costs, the need to change the existing model, and the inability to meet all clients’ expectations.
Boukhris, A, Fritzche, A & Möslein, K 2017, ‘Co-creation in the early stage of product-service system development’, Procedia CIRP, vol. 63, no. 1, pp. 27-32.
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Robertson, D & Lineback, K 2017, The power of little ideas: a third way to innovate for market success, Harvard Business Review Press, Boston.