Published by Matthew Gustin
2 years ago
There are many companies that offer all the same product. But anyway, in this undertaking pile of enterprises some still stand out strongly. What are they doing differently from their competitors?
What is a product? Although it seems like a very banal question, understanding the truth and the essence of a product is crucial. On the contrary to what we are taught, that a product is something that solves an existing problem, I believe that there is more to it than we think.
A good product is also something that awakes needs that did not exist previously. After being awakened, a specific desire becomes a problem, because only then, you’ll have to satisfy your hunger for it that did not exist before. One of the best examples is the Apple iPhone. When Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone, many laughed at him. Some competitors, such as RIM under others, mocked the iPhone because it had no physical keyboard and said it wouldn’t bring any added value.
In the example of the iPhone, we can see that many people did not recognize the value of the iPhone in the beginning. This was so because Jobs didn’t solve a problem, but rather had awakened a non existing necessity with the device.
The special thing about innovative products is that they alter the fundamental cores of existing products and services. But what makes them even more special is how they change the way in which we experience the problem solving ability of a product or just the way we experience and perceive a product.
In fact, a product or service innovation is the change in the perception and experience of a product or service. Building better chips doesn’t change the way we experience a smartphone it just improves an already existing experience.
Improvement is often mistaken for innovation. To understand that improvement isn’t innovation let us look at the following example: Imagine you own a little, tidy, gorgeous and comfortable house and it has two rooms. In order to improve the house and make it even nicer, you paint it anew and buy new furniture. That was an enhancement, because you boosted your experience.
Innovation on the other hand would be the purchase of a 10 rooms large mansion. No matter how many accessories you’d put into the small house, it would never offer you the same experience and feeling as the bigger house. This is precisely the difference between innovation and enhancement.
Steve Jobs once said that customers don’t know what they want. A very bold statement, but what did he mean by that? Henry Ford answered this question, many years ago, by saying “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses and not cars.”
Customers don’t really get that the next big thing isn’t a better and faster device but a device that redefines our experience and interaction with it. As matter of fact what we need to understand is that it doesn’t matter if it is a horse, a car or a train.
What customers really want is a product or service that covers a specific need in the best way. People still don’t understand that in order to improve the existent experience, one must create something new and not just enhance what already exists.