Designing Breakthrough Ideas

The main challenge faced by innovation managers is how to take advantage of new technology and envision its market potential. In the following article, we will show how new technologies today can be used to design breakthrough products and services for better customer experience.


New emerging technologies. 

New technologies today are easy to access. However, not every business on the market can take advantage of those technical innovations. Most of companies enhance an existing product, concentrating solely on customers’ existing needs. Let’s illustrate this by  simple example.

Since the 3rd generation gaming consoles were introduced on the market in the earlier 1980-s, they have known a slow evolution. A classic concept of base with remote, connected to TV persisted through the years.


The power of processor, memory, and graphic’s card were certainly optimized. However, the gaming experience itself was the same.


In 2006, Nintendo released a new gaming console called Wii. With more than 100 million units sold, the console broke all sales record. What made it so outstanding? Well, the completely new user experience. A simple on-screen gaming was transformed into complete home physical entertainment system.


Innovation leaders.

Philips Electronics pioneered in innovation since 1990s. Its design team conducted over 20 projects to find out how new technologies can be used in innovation. One of their resulting product is AEH (Ambient Experience for Healthcare), which helps reducing anxiety of patients who undergo medical scans. First, the new approach uses video and sound animations in relaxing atmosphere. This method eliminates the fear and need of sedation, especially for young children. Second, it reduces the scan time and amount of radiation received. Finally, people love their new experience.
Most of the time companies are asking customers what they want while using a product. This technique rarely leads to breakthrough innovation, but only improves a little an existing product. For that reason, Philips is focusing on new vision a technology could make. How do they do it? We will show it in the next section.

How to design breakthrough ideas.  

To design breakthrough products, companies should adopt a systematic approach. First, they should assemble a team of experts in different fields related to: People, Environment, and Technology layers. Next step is to launch different projects related to those factors, and let the experts to observe people interacting with offered products, while analyzing user experience from beginning to the end. Finally, the newly found ideas, through experiments, are assembled into a whole new innovative product. To conclude, successful companies are not those who use new technologies by enhancing an existing product, but those who use them to improve customer experiences.

©Univertis – Inspired  by Harward Business Review

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