Make Connections

Generating New Product Ideas by making connections - Tesla

Exhibit 9.7   Tesla’s electric vehicle’s skateboard chassis with battery pack stretched across the base.

“All the geniuses here at General Motors kept saying lithium-ion technology is 10 years away, and Toyota agreed with us and boom, along comes Tesla … How come some tiny little California startup, run by guys who know nothing about the car business, can do this, and we can’t?” General Motors’ then Vice Chairman Robert Lutz (2007).

Linking different sources, whether they are observations, consumer needs and emotions, and/or market trends, can create a potent mix that fuels creative ideas. Take for instance the following examples of products that were conceived by connecting distinct market trends and behavioural patterns:

  • The demand for electric vehicles (EVs) (Exhibit 9.7) stems from the growing desire for cleaner sources of energy as well as advances in lithium-ion batteries. Tesla’s plan in February 2014 to build their Gigafactory was reminiscent of IBM’s transformation in 1964 from an assembler of computers to becoming a manufacturing concern that produced the world’s largest quantity of integrated circuits. Entirely powered by renewable energy sources, by 2018, Tesla’s Gigafactory produces more lithium-ion batteries in terms of kWh than all other carmakers combined. (Observation: People are concerned about the environment).
  • The advent and growth of EVs is likely to lead to a disruption that will affect almost every aspect of the automobile industry and associated sectors (petroleum, battery, auto components, auto materials etc.).
  • Google Maps exploited the opportunity mix created by the proliferation of mobile devices combined with the convenience of reading maps in a soft copy format.
Generating New Product Ideas by making connections - Yoplait Go-GURT

Exhibit 9.8   Yoplait Go-GURT is ideal for children on-the-go.

  • Yoplait Go-GURT (Exhibit 9.8) is another product that connects the trend in health with on-the-go convenience. It is a portable, low-fat yogurt that comes in the form of a squeezable tube. Go-GURT may be held in one hand and eaten without a spoon; ideal for children on-the-go. (Observation: “I want my children to eat healthy. But they like to consume snacks that taste good and can easily be eaten outdoors”).
  • UP & GO (Australia) nourishing liquid breakfast in a tetra pack targets those who have little or no time to sit for breakfast. Kellogg’s All-Bran is also available in liquid format in a number of countries. Both these products leverage the needs for health and on-the-go convenience. (Observation: “I often skip meals because I am too busy, or I am late for work”).
  • Birds Eye Steamfresh, vegetables packed in a unique steamer pack that meets the need for convenience and health.
Generating New Product Ideas by making connections - Tamagotchi

Exhibit 9.9   Tamagotchi connected the growing interest in electronic gadgets with the trend in keeping smaller pets.

  • Tamagotchi (Exhibit 9.9), the electronic pet from Bandai connects the growing interest in electronic gadgets with the trend in keeping smaller pets.
Generating New Product Ideas by making connections - Pokémon Go

Exhibit 9.10   Pokémon Go, a virtual treasure hunt, that connects mobile devices and virtual treasure (Pokémons)

  • Pokémon Go (Exhibit 9.10), a virtual “treasure hunt” that complements modern lifestyles, connecting mobile devices that have infiltrated our lives with virtual treasure (Pokémons).

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