Interesting take on letting customers help mold your company in this Entrepreneur.com article.
The Twitter hashtag and RT (Retweet). The use of these tools are so much a part of what Twitter is now, it's hard to imagine that the company didn't intend their use from the start. Hashtags were suggested by one Twitter user in 2007 and began to catch on with users from then on. It took until 2009 for Twitter to fully embrace them and start hyperlinking hashtags. RTs also began to show up in 2007 and quickly caught on strongly among Twitter users. In 2009, Twitter introduced a retweet function to replace "RT @..." and make it an "official" Twitter function.
One could argue in some of the examples, such as the Twitter example above, whether Twitter was "listening" to its customers, or co-opting their favorite behaviors.? A lot of then-current users were not pleased with the changes, but eventually Twitter found the right balance for supporting them officially and efficiently.
Perhaps letting your customers push you in new directions isn't as foreign an idea for consulting companies - who arguably have to fight the opposite problem - that of flowing toward where the customers want you to go, to such an extent that you lose your corporate identity.? At BP3 we've avoided that by staying laser focused on BPM, and then working to eliminate any obstacles that get in the way of delivering value through business process management (BPM).