How Intuit Turned Feedback into a Comeback
At Intuit Inc., the path to innovation and domination in financial software has been paved with customer feedback. To ferret out problems and test progress on products in development, the company sends its engineers out for face-to-face encounters with consumers and entrepreneurs. But the company has struggled to adapt its business from software sold on disks to online financial services. Perhaps the most valuable feedback: Intuit relies on volunteers for improvements and new product ideas.
For almost an hour, the 14 Canadian entrepreneurs–owners of businesses ranging from a bakery to a hip-hop clothing manufacturer–sat around a table venting about their problems. “Finding distribution channels,” they said, and “partnership and collaboration,” and “cutting costs,” and “the time suck of social media.” Running the session in Toronto in October 2009 was a slight, professorial, 57-year-old Silicon Valley legend named Scott Cook. He had assembled the group because he wanted to hear their problems first-hand so that Intuit, the business he founded, could come up with profitable solutions.
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