This article reviews a central tension in management—the relationship between customers and innovation. It explores the contrast between serving and creating customers and examines the sometimes uneasy relationship between an innovation orientation and a customer orientation. From this discussion, the article develops a model that provides an inclusive paradigm of the different strategies that firms have used to resolve the tension and explores the dynamics of the change process for several well-known companies. It concludes by developing the managerial implications of the model, with a particular emphasis on how new technology is changing the desirability of alternative strategies.
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