One of my favorite quotes is from the artist Marcel Duchamp who when asked about the source of his inspiration, stated “it was in the air.” I love that quote for two reasons – it speaks to the ethereal quality of where new ideas come from and it reminds us we are never alone when latching on to something new. ItÔÇÖs never too early when testing research hypotheses and developing prototypes to examine who else is inspired to solve similar problems and how theyÔÇÖre applying their technology. ItÔÇÖs also never too early to be talking to potential users.
We had one exemplary client who is truly ahead of the market. By testing his idea with potential customers he identified key features and other attributes necessary to win customers over when the market catches up with his idea. However when products are created in the silo of pure technology development without the key ingredient of customer validation they risk certain failure. If little to no investment is made talking with potential customers early on — or worse talking with only one customer — demand will often fall far short when attempting to build out a market presence. This sad yet all too familiar scenario can be avoided with proper strategic planning. When little emphasis is placed up front on customersÔÇÖ desires, perceived value and pent up need or demand — stated or otherwise, you set you and your product up for failure. We hope these public examples (Major Product Flops in 2012) make the point and encourage you to engage in strategic planning up front in your product development cycle.
Several of our clients in 2012 had developed interesting, even potentially disruptive technologies. While each of these clients had been successful in designing a solution that met the needs of one customer or geographic region they failed to consider the broader applicability. Developing technology solutions with the potential to scale (which gains interest from the venture community) means understanding how your innovation will be used beyond one customer type, vertical or geographic region. Most importantly, it means prioritizing which opportunities to go after first due to ease of market entry, low friction in the channel and significant competitive differentiation.
True innovation means discovering untapped market needs and opportunities. How much time and effort have you invested in understanding unstated customer needs and how your solution might address those needs? Let us help you uncover the ÔÇ£white spaceÔÇØ that your solution can go after for rapid market success.