I think that one of the most interesting thing in our job is trying to understand what customers do with your products. Even if you are convinced that you covered all of the possible use cases for your product/application/service you can rest sure that out there there is some crazy guy that will find something new.
This has happened also for the iPhone.
There is one guy that has turned his iPhone in a working guitar. [via]
Another smart guy has turned his iPhone in a hard drive. [via]
You may also try to turn your iPhone into a mobile Flickr photoframe. [via]
I really love this kind of stuff and I think it is critical for any company that wants to be innovative to look at this.
As we can see there is no defined process in this. Apple simply (sorry for the understatement here) put a new product on the market and people around the world just started finding new applications that surely Apple was not thinking of while designing the product. There is so much technology in today products and a number of possible mash-ups that it is quite impossible to predict every use.
As we said there is no process in this. You just launch the product and observe.
If we think there is value in what people is doing with your product, even in unconventional ways, we should try to capitalize that value and implement and design a process that will collect that value.
In some way what happened with the Google Android developer challenge may prove to be a good approach, even if the business case was different.
Definitely something to think about.