Context first, then product.We call this Context Innovation, because the innovation process doesn’t start with the entrepreneur inventing some thing first. And then trying to get someone to buy it and like it, and while doing that fantasizing about all the possible needs out there. On the contrary the innovation starts from classical branding research finding the true needs and great passion among a groups of users. What is working well for them, later proves to be working well also for other groups of people with other lives and parallel interests. That’s why Context Innovation is truly branding!
Why we love crowd funding is because it’s the ultimate test of a product in a context of passionate people liking something so much they are willing not only to buy it, but to invest in it too. It is essential to get into peoples minds before creating a business strategy and a product. Everything really has to start with the things that are troubling people, irritating them, things that should be changed, things that are latently waiting to be taken care of. All these things that need to be changed, re-invented, fixed or preserved.
Here we have the great surprise effect of Context Innovation, and the question in most peoples minds: why haven’t this been done before?
How to make Brand Context Innovation? Our approach is to create a game changer in any category of products or services, and not just being just another player working on the product itself with minimal and non-lasting product differences, by focusing on creating products tailored to existing user contexts.
Let’s take the example of how to create a new innovative context brand in the crowded market space of digital tablet devices.
1. Which are the different user contexts for tablets? That’s what we like need to find out, explore and create relations to. We already know about some typical contexts, for professionals and for consumers, we know about a lot of usage needs in different professions like: pilots, but we also see a need in service areas like checking in, taking orders while walking around, instead of standing behind a desk. We are noticing that a lot of consumers use tablets and iPads to control the functions in their homes. A lot of brands have been successful in this space; Sonos and Nest comes to mind.We have to look around and notice existing user contexts.
2. Picking the minds of users, is the next step, representing various user contexts, and retrieving weak signals, and with pattern recognition finding user patterns, clusters, and insights that help us formulate one or several winning contextual concepts for tablets. Here we use an anthropological/ethnographic research approach; more watching, and lightly leading the person interviewed. We want to know their inner thoughts about the space we want to investigate, we are sensitive to their free associations and listen to any weak signals that can lead to not yet exploited discoveries of true needs.
3. Then design the product (or service). Match existing tablet design technology with defined user contexts and create new different hypothetical tablet versions, then building prototypes, then create branding; including product names and design, including UX design, for the selected tablet user contexts, and finally return back to the users testing the concepts on them, and modify if needed.
We are of course modeling our process on successful context innovation like GoPro when we do this. Finding contexts in which tablets are used in a different ways solving different problems meeting different needs, integrated with special lifestyle and user situations.
In GoPro’s case sturdy protected HD-cameras for surfing, skydiving, flying, skiing, scuba diving, etc. created a new business and a new brand. In our tablets case it maybe that, but it can also be a very different UX on a different tailored app, or a combination of something physical and something virtual. Like how Parrot’s Bepop AR Drone 3.0 is using a tablet attached to special handles with functions and a connection to another product – the Occulus Rift 3D headset, and of course also having an updated advanced new special app for the new advanced quadrocopter drone with its HD camera and its extended operation distance.