Monday, November 12, 2007

New and Improved

I was driving to work today listening to NPR, when a local reporter's story on a military conference caught my attention. It seems there's a large confab happening on a nearby military base to demonstrate new products and technologies. The one conversation that really caught my attention was a new, portable xray device that medics could carry on the battlefield.

Well, it turned out that the xray device was actually "new and improved". The older device by the same company is currently used by many medics to provide a quick and dirty xray in the field to determine the extent of a wound. The upgrade provides an even more detailed xray. However, according to the soldier who was interviewed, most of them had no interest in the upgrade. It turns out that while the new product is more precise, it also weighs 10 pounds more than the previous version, and in the quick and dirty world of field surgery, the extra detail isn't really valuable.

This is a classic case of unmet and overmet product features in which the firm developing the xray paid more attention to the capabilities of the technology than the needs of the user. The users of the xray device want some clarity in an xray, but for the work they are doing they don't need perfection. The manufacturer of the device did not understand, or did not care to learn, that there was really no need to improve the capability of the device in this regard, as far as this target segment was concerned. However, what they did care about was the weight of the unit, since portable means someone is carrying it. So, they improved a feature that no one needed improved, and damaged a feature that the user really cared about.

Seems like a classic case of letting the technology lead the product development, rather than the needs of the customer. You could argue that the company believed it understood the needs of the customer and was trying to provide an even more detailed xray, but that's not what the users needed. It seems to me that they needed the same level of detail, but a lighter, more portable device, perhaps one that could be run on a number of different power sources.

Product development teams are often innovative, and I suspect the team did some great work developing an even finer grain portable xray. Over time, the value of their work may be recognized in some other market. However, without interacting with the customer and being driven by the unmet or partially met needs, and being too focused on the technology and the needs that are already fully met, this manufacturer missed the mark.

Innovation is rarely an inside out proposition. Innovation that adds value always considers the customer - perhaps not their current needs but anticipates needs they are likely to have in the near future. In this case innovation was led by the technology of the xray, rather than the true needs of the user.
AddThis Social Bookmark Button
posted by Jeffrey Phillips at 5:30 AM


Anonymous Inversiones en oro said...

hello, this day I've been searching for information on various issues, this I found very good and I would like to congratulate you for your work.
Invertir en platahello, this day I've been searching for information on various issues, this I found very good and I would like to congratulate you for your work.
Invertir en plata

7:54 AM  
Anonymous Invertir en oro said...

I think that this post is very good, i would like to read more information about this topic.

2:14 PM  
Anonymous blemish solutions said...

Time is money as the old saying goes, and by reading this publish, I noticed that I saved myself numerous treasured time, which would have been otherwise spent on reading low consistency info throughout the almighty web. Thank you for the straight to the purpose, helpful enter!

4:38 PM  
Anonymous blemish removal said...

Thanks for this submit, I have been always in search of this convenient articels all over the place but couldn't find full info supplied here. thank you. and I'll simply reference some of you phrases .

4:39 PM  
Anonymous stop pre ejaculation said...

Thanks a lot for this time sharing of innovation about NEW AND IMPROVED. This is really the best website about innovation i have ever read.

6:17 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home