There’s no shortage of hype out there. Companies now have more resources at their disposal to test, develop, and launch new products. And with everyone looking for the next big thing, it’s not hard to get attention with a perfectly timed announcement.
It’s one thing to claim that you’re developing a disruptive solution and it’s another thing to actually deliver it. That’s why true innovation is still rare. Groundbreaking ideas and solutions are out there, but they require more risk, strategy, and ingenuity than hype.
Creating something transformative is not possible for every company, but those that manage to do it are excellent at identifying an unmet need among a targeted audience, evaluating the benefits that must be delivered, and developing the features that make them possible.
The Target Audience Decides What’s Innovative
It’s not up to a company whether its offering is really an innovation. The people with a problem will determine whether it’s a solution and whether it’s a groundbreaking one. This is why understanding a target audience is critical to introducing a groundbreaking product.
One main thing to keep in mind is that a groundbreaking innovation doesn’t have to change everything for everybody, but if it changes something for somebody, it can do so over and over again.
What starts as a ripple can soon become a wave. Even as individuals, we deal with common problems and seek out relevant solutions. When a provider delivers a solution that’s not only novel but genuinely useful, people who have been dealing with that problem will react and respond, and they also spread the word.
The ripple effects of a new solution within a marketplace are powerful. The better a company can meet a long-awaited need that outdoes all previous options, the stronger and greater the impact will be across a marketplace.
A marketplace is not just a demographic or collection of buyers; it is the group of people who will decide whether an innovation has any real value based on how it’s applied to their experience. Companies that understand that can focus their efforts on developing an actual solution instead of convincing customers what they’ve introduced is what the market needs.
There is something to be said about the value of novelty. Hype and curiosity can sustain something that’s simply new and interesting, but this is not true innovation and the dividends don’t last. Eventually, the value of that new development is put to the test.
If the audience decides it has nothing to offer beyond its trendiness, it won’t be counted as an innovation. It might not even survive the ever-shortening hype cycle.
To create something truly groundbreaking, an innovator must offer something that’s not only new but substantive. And more than that, it must be useful to the people who need to solve a problem in a new way. Doing this requires an understanding of benefits.
Groundbreaking Products Deliver Real Benefits
Benefits are the impact of a function. They are the direct result of an innovation making something possible for the first time. They could also result from greatly improving on an existing capability in a way that seems completely new.
Benefits are also the effects of the new possibilities. They are all the different ways things have changed for the better and hardships are avoided.
Benefits are the difference between a genuine innovation and just a new version of an old solution. Think about what remains after a novelty wears off and the innovation is applied to the experience of the targeted audience in their everyday lives, and those are the benefits.
Benefits make an innovation significant. And the more significant those benefits, the more groundbreaking the innovation.
Sometimes benefits are carefully planned in the development of an innovation. Think of a development like WiFi and the integral benefit of allowing widespread connectivity without any form of physical network. Those benefits were a central part of the development.
But some innovative products become groundbreaking because of accidental or unexpected benefits. The microwave oven revolutionized cooking, but it was a complete accident—discovered by Percy LeBaron Spencer, who managed to melt a candy bar in his pocket in the process of working magnetrons to develop short radio waves. The rapid, indirect heating was not intentional, but the benefit was clear and the impact on home and commercial cooking made the development groundbreaking—all because Spencer saw the relevance of his discovery and recognized who would find it most useful.
Whether carefully built into a product or the result of an accidental discovery, benefits aren’t possible without features.
Of all the aspects of introducing a groundbreaking product, the features are what the innovator has the greatest control over. Companies that create disruptive products know how to make the most of them.
Innovators Know The Impact Of Features
A feature is an aspect, quality, or capability of a product. It’s anything that makes it appealing, useful, and useable to the target audience. If a product can carry out a function or offer a benefit, it does so through its features.
Product features are great opportunities to create groundbreaking innovation. By recognizing a shortcoming or potential for improvement in an existing product, and correcting it with a new feature, the result can be a groundbreaking innovation. For example, the automobile is a groundbreaking product.
Windshield wipers, automatic transmission, power steering, and backup cameras are all innovative features that amounted to major improvements, and in their own way, broke new ground in the automotive manufacturing industry.
Developing a new product requires careful consideration of which features to include and then which to highlight for the targeted audience. Buyers need to know what makes this product different, but mostly what makes it better than every other solution already put forth to solve their problems.
By focusing on the right features and the impact each one stands to make, innovators know exactly what to include in their product, but most importantly, why it will be significant to their targeted audience. Companies that create groundbreaking innovations can swiftly and confidently say, here is a product, this is what it does, and this is why it matters.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What makes a product groundbreaking?
A groundbreaking product introduces a new capability, bypasses an old way of doing things, delivers a new benefit to a buyer or user, or otherwise disrupts an industry or marketplace.
Why are people always looking for the next groundbreaking product?
People are eager to discover innovations that solve their problems and improve their lives. Discovering a groundbreaking product and sharing the news of it also reflects positively on the person spreading the word and can foster a feeling of being ahead of the curve.
Who really decides whether a product is an innovation?
Companies love to introduce their products as groundbreaking, but it’s ultimately up to the targeted audience whether a solution provides benefits that are truly innovative based on how they use it. By carefully considering the features of what they develop, companies have greater potential to introduce something groundbreaking, but it’s the response of the market that decides it.
Questions To Ask To Tell If Your Product Is Groundbreaking
- Does the product solve a problem in a new way?
- Does the product enable people to bypass steps or avoid hardship?
- Does the product change an old way of getting things done?
- Does the product incorporate a revolutionary feature into something that already exists?
- Is there a targeted audience that will find the product uniquely useable in an unexpected way?
The rate of innovation has greatly increased with technology and it’s not hard to find instances of big, groundbreaking product introductions. But not all of them happen in huge auditoriums or brand showcases. By looking at these press release examples and media announcements from innovators and businesses of all sizes, it’s easy to see that new solutions can come from anywhere.