When it comes to innovation we often get hung-up on creating something completely new. While this approach is usually the most exciting, it isn’t the only way to launch an incredibly successful product or brand. In other words, innovation doesn’t have to come from invention. It can also come from reconfiguration.
A product that recently caught my attention (although I am not a potential customer) is Rollasoles. These are shoes that are sold in vending machines in the UK marketed as “After Party” footwear. These machines live in night clubs where women have the option to buy alternative (more comfortable) footwear after a night of dancing.
Shoes are not a new product. Vending machines are not new a new product. The combination of the two in a hyper-targeted market is a very new product. This example is a very good reminder for brands that have reached a high saturation point. The most common solution is to release a brand new product. These products often do not fit the personality of the long established brand or it’s a product that customers have no reason to trust a brand with. In other words, customer might not trust Taco Bell to offer them a new selection of hot dogs, or Cadillac to start selling motorcycles.
The above concept doesn’t mean taking a great product and putting a clock in it. It means expanding beyond the traditional use of a product and fusing it with something completely unrelated, yet something that makes it incredibly useful.
- Which of your already created products can be put together to make a singular one? Electronics companies do this all the time, but where else can this practice be applied?
- Of products that offer a variety of uses, is there one use that soars above the rest? Can this singular function be capitalized on and highlighted in the next iteration of the product?
- What anecdotes exist of customers using a product in a way it wasn’t intended? Duct Tape is a fantastic example where many have adopted the sticky material as a source of fabric for clothing and accessories. These are huge opportunities to tinker with your product and turn a niche market into a mass market.
The moral of the story? There’s value in creating something from nothing. But there’s also the reality that we live in an imperfect world. And an imperfect world means there’s room to capitalize on improving things that already exist.