* Mandate that everyone in the company increase the amount of time they spend with customers – however much time your company is spending, it is probably not enough.
* Find simple ways to make customer conversations more frequent. Consider forming a lead user panel or creating an online community like those offered by CommuniSpace.
* Build a little-bets lab, a mechanism by which you can selectively introduce early ideas to the market. For example, at beta620.nytimes.com, users can test drive early experiments offered by The New York Times Company. Little bets labs facilitate the thoughtful process of strategic experimentation that typifies successful innovation.
– The quality of user experience (the HEART framework)
– The goals of your product or project (the Goals-Signals-Metrics process)