I have come across an interesting talk  on product design by Kathy Sierra, it’s worth looking at.
She  illustrates very clearly why companies should be user centric, what it really means and how to achieve it. I liked her suggestion of a starting point for designing a product/service: write what you would like users to say about it and design from there. The aim being to create a product that will be recommended by the user. The powerful idea being to design the product for the user’s user, the user’s audience. e.g. their friends, families, colleagues, etc..