Taking control of faster horses, cars and autonomous drones

At e3, we believe that companies must engage in both incremental improvements to existing (valuable) products and services and understand deeper consumer expectations and motivations to develop new ones.

Blinkered persistence to existing solutions can eventually lead to shrinking markets and a broadening consumer needs gap. However, constantly moving to the next new shiny advance in technology without persevering on optimising and nurturing existing products and investments can be expensive - and even suicidal.

Xerox famously branched from the existing copier market to invest in pioneering technology research. They made the first steps towards the personal computer but then failed to follow it through to commercial success. Meanwhile they took their eye off the future of copying.

Nokia continued its long history of diversification to identify a gap in the mobile phone market. They became market leaders then failed to keep up with competitors when consumer needs evolved.

Today, the likes of Uber and Amazon continually eye up new or adjacent markets and technology innovations while continuing to develop their existing portfolio. Even Ford, supposed originator of the faster horses quote, invests heavily in R&D as well as evolving its flagship models.

Elon Musk takes a long term view, igniting but also committing to developing entirely new product categories.

At e3, we help our clients to realise the potential of new digital products and services that fulfil user needs. Beyond roadmaps and prototypes, we develop real solutions with real results in rapid timescales. We use an iterative test and learn approach to ensure that only the right products and services are invested in, and then ruthlessly optimised to business goals.

For example, we’ve been working with Arthritis Research UK to develop innovative ways to support the 10 million people with arthritis in the UK. The virtual assistant, built in conjunction with IBM Watson, complements other engagement platforms we continue to optimise.

With the Royal Navy, we have conducted in depth research with serving personnel to establish and evolve new digital products and services to increase retention.

And with The View from The Shard, we maintain an ongoing programme to maximise online ticket sales but are also discussing potential new revenue streams through digital experiences.

We therefore strongly advise that to stay relevant and to secure your business future, it is critical to avoid both blinkered persistence and flip flopping focus. Develop your existing products further (where there’s long term potential) and find out what consumers actually expect through in-depth research, to develop new innovations.

If you’re interested in doing things better and doing better things, get in touch with miranda.glover@e3.co.uk