Henry Ford said, "If I had asked my customers what they wanted they’d have said a faster horse."  Isn’t that interesting?  What is that saying about how we determine what services we ought to offer?  What does it say about changes we should consider?

According to Tom Kelley and The Ten Faces of Innovation "Ford had a point.  Don’t expect customers to help you envision the future.  Make that mistake and you’re likely to get lots of suggestions for ‘faster horses.’"

One of the great challenges in any organization is to determine who to listen to and what to do with what you hear.  I’m remembering conversations where constituents wanted to tell me how what we were doing could be improved and thinking to myself, "yes, but that doesn’t take us in the direction that will really get us somewhere."  They were wanting only a faster horse…not a Model T.


Listening to Customers