There will be many differences between the Industrial Society logic we are now leaving and the logic of the Networked Society that is now emerging. One of the differences is how we look at customers – whether they are consumers or clients and where we find them in the value chain.

In the Industrial Era logic that we are leaving (but which still dominates many businesses), the consumer or the client is the endpoint of the value chain, the final destination for the product or service, and the address for the invoice. These days, however, this logic is being turned upside-down. The consumers and clients are not the endpoint any longer, but are becoming a core asset for the creation of new products and services.

It’s worth remembering that classical value chains were not created with the customer in mind. Instead, they reflect the priorities of the Industrial Era and are defined by the logical steps of production and distribution. Every part of the chain is arranged in waterfall order, from the initial ideas in laboratories and R&D departments to production, distribution and marketing. Although many companies have brought in user-centric design methodologies to put more focus on the user experience, they are still essentially operating within the same value-chain logic. The customer is not part of the value-creation process. Read the rest of my post at the Networked Society Blog.