“There is only one valid definition of business purpose: to create a customer.”

— Peter F. Drucker


The Drucker Customer Lab is designed with three audiences in mind: students, businesses, and thought-leaders. At the Lab, students will learn how to create customers, businesses will acquire new capabilities to transform into customer-centric organizations, and thought leaders can speed up the idea-to-product process through agile development to create customers faster.

The Lab provides an unbiased, award-winning environment in which graduate students and industry partners learn to quickly implement customer-centered solutions using key building blocks:

  • Big and deep data
  • Analytics sciences
  • Real-life experiments

Our Lab participants gain firsthand experience using these building blocks to create new and “smart products.” In one example, Evan Howard, a student in CGU’s dual Master of Science/MBA program with Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, and Oliver Hofstetter, an exchange student from the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland, transformed a traditional key into a “smart key.” Instead of searching for the right key on a keychain, a smart key will light up and buzz on approach to the matching door–particularly helpful with similar-looking keys and in the dark.



“Smart products” embody the Internet of Things (IoT) (Porter & Heppelmann, 2014). A smart product is one that learns and adapts to “fit the customer and sell itself” (Peter Drucker, The Essential Drucker, 2000). They will win, because their adaptability will make them inherently more easy-to-use and convenient, and therefore, the preferred choice of consumers globally.

However, the shift to smart products “will require a revolution on the part of incumbents [because] they will need to rethink their core competence” (The Economist, 2015). In order to become “smart,” products will have to be connected using sensors, learning, and artificial intelligence–the Lab’s building blocks.

Learn more about how the Drucker Customer Lab can:

More Information

Please contact:
Chris S. Langdon
Director, Drucker Customer Lab
Research Associate Professor, Drucker School of Management