When you’re determining what to do next…do you look for your ideas on the inside (with your team or current customers) or do you look on the outside? Saddleback has popularized the notion of "crowd-to-core" vs. "core-to-crowd" as a way of understanding how to develop people. This is not really that. Inside-out vs. outside-in has more to do with the thinking and planning you do as you’re attempting to launch a new product or concept.
I tripped across The Secrets of Market-Driven Leaders yesterday. Actually John Moore over at Brand Autopsy referred to it (and there is always a ton of good stuff over at Brand Autopsy). It’s a very interesting 16 pages that has a lot to say to all of us. For now, just think about this one concept: Inside-out vs. Outside-in. What is at stake is the future of your organization and your ability to design new products and concepts that connect with people who are not yet your customers. That’s big, isn’t it?
Inside-out thinking may be most likely when your organization has a degree of success with a previous product. You’ll be more likely to rely on input from insiders—staff or existing customers—to come up with the ideas for what to do next. Because the article focused on the realities of technology companies, it uses the Apple Newton (a massive failure) as an example inside-out thinking.
Outside-in thinking occurs when organizations actually pay attention to "the needs of the marketplace". When that happens, products like Apple’s iPod emerge.
Can you see how this same kind of thing affects your business ? Be sure and check out The Secrets of Market-Driven Leaders for the secrets that explain the difference between "market-driven leaders and the rest of the pack".