Mandy Shapansky - Intimate Innovation
In 1999, the revenues of Xerox, the world's largest photocopier maker, began to fall, and in 2000 it reported a loss of $273 million. This resulted in a $20 billion loss in stock market value (from April 1999 to May 2000).
A total re-think of their business has totally changed the company and today despite hard economic times its revenue is $21.6 Billion and its profit is $1.3 billion.
Intimate Innovation has been a key strategy in this turnaround. They stopped manufacturing photocopiers through outsourcing and went on a journey to truly address their customer’s problems and pain points and free them up to realize more opportunities. They have become a key knowledge accelerator for their clients enabling them to make better decisions quicker and serve their customers better.
Intimate Innovation has enabled them to become critically important to their clients and has given them a position so intimate to their customer’s success that they have driven down customer churn dramatically.
Intimate Innovation starts by creating curiosity within a client and a desire to better use their manpower and financial assets. It is not about selling but rather encouraging a company to look inside their own organization and examine the roadblocks they have in providing the best possible service to their customers at a lower cost and utilizing fewer assets. Xerox focuses on their customer’s desire to do more for their clients.
For Xerox it is now all about focusing on their customer’s challenges, pain points and opportunities and then applying their large force of programmers, scientists and solution engineers to build a custom process for them to address these needs. Once in place they become indispensible.
The key is building the necessary closeness and confidence for their customer to expose their internal workings. This requires both organizational and individual trust. The client has to share confidential knowledge and then expose the fact they are excited about the new possibilities. This is not something a buyer normally does.
Xerox calls this process “Intimate Innovation” and like in personal intimacies it is built on trust, understanding, empathy and mutual confidence.
Mandy Shapansky is President and CEO of their Canadian operation and leads a team of 3,600 employees who deliver annual revenue of more than $1.2 billion.