When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. If you have never seen a wrench or a screwdriver you will have a hard time seeing what you need, even once you discover that your hammer does not work very well on bolts or screws. This makes it hard to break away from tools that do not serve you. Under pressure, companies tend to fall back upon what they know, so they often end up trying to solve problems with the same tools that got them into trouble in the first place. When this tactic threatens to choke an organization, we call it "breathing your own exhaust."
Right now, many companies see an opportunity to approach product creation from a fresh perspective. With the frenzied dot-com "business model" no longer a distraction, and the recession apparently easing, these companies are looking for ways to benefit from their painful experiences and create a better crop of products and services. They want to nurture customer loyalty by building products that please their customers, rather than following fads or stacking up long lists of features that no one really wants. Everyone knows pleasing customers is the right thing to do, but how do you really do it?