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According to the report of Mckinsey & Company, China’s latest Five-Year Plan promised that China’s economy would mainly depend on domestic consumption, which would be the major driving factor of economy growth, instead of export. To achieve this goal, the key is that China must strengthen its innovative ability in economy. However, China doesn’t perform well in this aspect. A great number of Chinese enterprises still lacks of innovative ability. For example, in consumable electronic products industry, innovation normally falls into imitating and improving the products developed by Japan and Korea rather than creating really new products. Chinese enterprises do less innovation based on the study of consumers’ preference and the study of the foreign consumers is even rarer. Chinese enterprises still concentrate on expanding their global market share by ordinary products instead of creating the market share by brand new products. Besides, in the service industries dominated by the state like banking industry, the innovation of products and service is all the while very weak.

For many Chinese enterprises, product innovation used to be product-centered. They considered how to improve the products in the angle of the enterprise and they first produced the products and then put into the market. It is a ‘Push Mode’ which consumes large amount of labor and fund of the enterprise while not obtaining a good effect. Meanwhile, the enterprise also met with various problems like product homogenization, price competition, bad sales, not knowing what product the consumer really needs and what product most suits the consumer while bringing long-term development for the enterprise, etc.

Faced with these problems, the enterprises realize that innovation is the only way out, whether it is product innovation, service innovation or business mode innovation. But innovation starts with the innovation research.

Since 20th century, the leading European innovation research and designing companies have adopted the customer-centered innovation research, which is a research method based on consumers’ need. They do innovation research of the consumer first and then based on consumer’s need, the researchers will do the corresponding research & development as well as innovation. This greatly saves companies’ resource and time, avoiding meaningless and worthless innovation. The products produced in this way adopt ‘Pull mode’ instead of the previous ‘Push mode’, which will catch more attention of the consumer and take the initiative to enter into the market.

It’s no doubt that Apple Inc. is the most successful in the area of innovation research. Its products inspire an almost religious fervor among its customers. Once the product is put into the market, the consumer scrambles desperately for it. Meanwhile, consumers’ loyalty for the product is very high, which benefits from the designing idea of starting from the user. Apple inc. always emphasizes user’s need and the human characteristic of the product rather than designing the new product according to technique requirements. By contrast, most of the Chinese companies take for granted that the product will definitely be sold by the wisdom of the employees. Unluckily, it is only a gizmo of the engineer.

When the Chinese companies want to conduct innovations of products, services or business modes, the innovation starting from the study of the consumer is the only way. At present, there are already a lot of IT and communication enterprises having tried innovation research. But it’s worth thinking deeply how we can open up a unique road for innovation.