An important characteristic of a futuristic company is its ability to speedily churn out business innovations for consumer benefit. Companies realise that to guarantee consistent custom, they need to give customers what they want (or supply a latent need). This realisation drives businesses to create new income streams from customisation rather than generalisation.
Research is Golden
To create new income streams in business, ask fundamental questions: What do consumers want? What do they need it for? In-depth research helps a company narrow in on previously unidentified needs & wants. But research must be executed with an eye on creating new products from the insights gleaned.
Sometimes collaborations provide fresh perspectives. Case in point is the strategic collaboration between legendary basketball player, Michael Jordan and Nike in 1984 to create the Air Jordan. The Air Jordan has since witnessed several spin-offs generating over $1b in sales for Nike. Air Jordans were a product of simple observation – sports shoes were increasingly becoming fashion items. By wearing high-end shoes endorsed by a sporting great, consumers were buying into a lifestyle of achievement, performance and celebrity status.
Lesson: Outsource non-critical functions so you can focus on core competencies. Embrace collaboration to gain fresh perspectives.
Another sporting example is the attempt by Adidas to bring fans even closer to their icon, Leo Messi by launching a new signature adizero f50 Messi boot. The adizero f50 which scored the most goals in the 2010 World Cup represents fearlessness, agility and lightning quickness, synonymous with Messi. The innovation behind the adizero f50 Messi boot was the result of Adidas’ partnership with RED, a consultancy in Cophenhagen.
Form & Function = Premium Value
Product innovation must bear in mind the way consumers interact with products. With the rise in smart phones, consumers now take pictures in stores and seek opinions from friends who are not present. Comparative pricing is readily available online. Brand loyalty is heavily influenced by design and celebrity or peer endorsement.
Apple took full advantage of design differentiation to set the trend in mobile phone aesthetics. Thus, a new trend in consumer desire was born with the first iPhone which combined form & function and sold at a premium. The iPhone served as a widescreen iPod with touch controls, a revolutionary mobile phone and a breakthrough internet communicator.
Speed and Structure Matter
In product innovation, speed and structure matter. The ability to source data, use it to create new products, manufacture, put in place payment & delivery systems and gain consumer feedback – all these must be done nimbly and purposefully to ward off competition. Consistency of this sequence is also required. Hopefully, with speed, structure, premium value and research you will able to develop desirable products for the future.
AlderU is inspired by a monthly interactive session where Alder employees discuss insights on branding and life.
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