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In discussions with clients who want to apply new or emerging technologies to their products or services, I often hear questions like, “What will we get?” Sometimes, clients have heard about a new technology making waves, so they call me and want to know, “What should we do with VR?” or “How can we tackle AI?”
The answers to these questions are not so straightforward, so I try to get to the root of the client’s true intentions by helping them see their requests through two lenses: the organization and the customer.
In reply to their questions I usually ask a few of my own: “What do you expect the technology to do for your company?” Or more importantly, “What problem do you think it may solve for your customer?”
Answering questions with questions may seem coy, but getting clear on what a client expects from a technology and what their intent is for their organization and their customer is essential for success later. In fact, developing a clear and natural application in the user’s life is essential for traction and success.
Let’s take a closer look.
Questions and requests like, “What can I do with AR?” and “I need to do something with AI!” can be problematic for a number of reasons, not least because any time you start with technology, rather than your customers, there’s a good chance your outcomes will be off base. Start with what your customers need and want, on the other hand, and the technology will often avail itself naturally. At that point, you can design prototypes, systems, go-to-market plans, and beyond. This approach is the difference in Technology Lead and Design Lead innovation. Luckily we apply several different methods to help uncover what your customers want, what they need, and most importantly, what they will use.
There are four primary things that the application of a new technology can do for an organization.
1) PR Stunt
2) Marketing + Advertising
3) Service Augmentation
4) Model Augmentation
The goal of the visualization (above) is to highlight the relationship between investment required to achieve the impact of true innovation.
The power of applying a new technology to help your organization can be immense. To make sure you harness the power correctly, first start with the customer, then set your intent.
Brandon Gredler is the Director of Innovation at T3.