I’m always trying to come up with a provocative question which will help my clients transform their products, company or brands into something innovative, interesting, useful; or in my own terms: Simple, Smart & Sexy.
Not long ago I realized that the easiest way to business stagnation is thinking “this is it; this is how things ARE in this industry; this is how things ARE in this company”. I think I’ve started hearing the ruinous phrase of “this is how things are because I say so” ever since I was a little kid and later I heard it so many times, in so many places and I kept thinking ‘why’? Why are things like this and not different?
However later, I realized the right question is not why, but ‘how it should be different’; How something should really be in order to be more useful, attractive and desirable for a user. How should a phone be for a user, how should a bank be for a client, how should a family be for a kid. The real question which triggers innovation is how should something be.
Smart, under the context of Simple, Smart & Sexy, means useful. The more uses you can build into a product or a service, while at the same time maintaining it’s simplicity, the more chances of being successful. Think now, specially if you are a guy who hasn’t yet found a real good solution for carrying money, credit cards and an ID in your pocket, how should a smart phone be smarter? If you ask yourself this question, you’ll probably end up with a truly interesting, useful idea of what the next generation of smart phones should be; that will probably include a virtual bank and a scannable and valid ID device.
In this world we live in, Smart also means the capacity to adapt to a constant changing reality, be everywhere at all times, speak every language, be sensitive to cultural differences and multitask without the blink of an eye.
In this context, we need products or services that will allow us to do more things with less effort, in less time or with less resources. Specially important to those non-added pleasure tasks. like for example, paying our bills, carrying our money or our IDs.
In summary, Smart products are those which allow us to do the same things in a more intelligent or easier way. In my video, you will find some good examples of smart products.
The question is how to drive the concept of SMART to a business? Here are some tips:
- Start by applying design thinking. Forget the “what is it?” mindset and ask yourself or your team what should it be? What should a computer be for a user? What should a car be for a person? What should a bank be for a customer?
- Take the burden out of your client’s shoulders – Think of your client’s many to-do-tasks. How many of those can you incorporate to your product in order to reduce the burden of having to do it?
- Have an all-in-one mentality. Remember when a scanner, a printer, a fax and a copying machine where four? Think on how to combine things, even if they don’t belong to your core business or if you have to partner with another company to do so.
- Make it adaptable, flexible, customizable. Give your client the ability to design it’s own experience. A great example of customization are Coca-Cola’s new freestyle vending machines through which we can choose to customize our drink by mixing over 100 flavors.
- Once you’ve designed the concept, observe, combine art and usability. Imagine. (FOTO 26 NIÑO) The best way to do this is to really walk your client’s shoes by experiencing their interaction with the product. Of course, involving the client in the design phase is also a SMART move.
No matter what process you decide is more convenient for you or your company. The important thing is to focus on the end result, which is:
BE SIMPLE. BE SMART. BE SEXY.