Do you understand why you should only look from the outside?

By Anders Björklund

Do you understand why you should only look from the outside?

For the last couple of years, it has become common to use the expressions "outside-in" vs. "inside-out.". It is much easier only to think outside. That way, you will get the full view first, and then you can apply the implications of the outside perspective to the inside. 

There is much buzz about being customer-centric and keeping customers focused these days. Moreover, the words and expressions tend to be used more frequently when times are more demanding for business and in connection with organisational development. When times are tough, “everyone” says they will use an outside-in perspective. They usually mean to creatively deliver value to their customers (rather than merely focusing on launching and providing their existing products or services and prioritising sales). 

In my opinion,  the difference between using an outside perspective and using an inside perspective is enormous. Companies using an inside perspective provide solutions and products based on internal innovation. Companies using an outside perspective provide solutions based on customer behaviour, data, and needs. Being customer-centric requires you to translate awareness of an issue into actions towards solving it. 

I think the outside perspective requires a different way of organising your company. The silos internally need to be bridged or dismantled, and the bonus systems need to reward people on a new basis. The outside perspective starts with the marketplace and delves deeply into the challenges, questions, behaviours, and problems that people are facing on the outside. 


If we are naive, we can assume that all companies have an outside approach and always put the customers first in all decisions and actions. However, in my experience, that is a rare exception rather than the rule for most companies. All can change if they are willing to make an effort and dare to think, plan and work long-term. 

How many companies can you come up with that have changed from having a traditional inside perspective to using the outside perspective? 

Companies can change, but how many are willing to do what it takes before it is too late? 

Let us know what you think.

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Anders Björklund
Founder, CEO & Strategist since 2001. Anders provides thoughts and reflections about how to think about onlinification and digitalisation in B2B.
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