Closing the Gap between Technology and Customer Benefit

Technologically innovative companies - especially in the fields of IoT, smart products and Industry 4.0 - often face this challenge: how to close the gap between technological opportunity and a deliverable product/service system customers are willing to pay for?

Established industry leaders updating their products and processes, startups with promising new solutions, technology companies expanding their expertise and services or establishing platform systems: tackling the digital dimension and converting it into actual business cases is no easy task.

Typically, there is no lack of innovation - it is getting innovations out of a scientific domain that is challenging to technology-led businesses, bringing them back into the reality of a customer or user. After all, this is where the success of a product, service, or ecosystem is decided.

"To a user, a product is only as desirable as the benefits it delivers."

To a user, a product/service is only as interesting as he is able to grasp, and only as desirable as the benefits it delivers or the experiences it enables. A user-centric approach right from the outset of product development ensures innovation is channeled towards actual customer benefit and converted into products, services and ecosystems clients and consumers truly understand, appreciate, and value.

Thus, when working to convert technological innovation into user-focused business models, we go through the following steps with our clients in the development process:

  • identifying users/customers and their underlying needs early on through user research & interviews
  • identifying tangible user benefits: how can the product/service bring users closer to fulfilling their needs
  • designing the product/service around these benefits and associated experiences
  • employing user testing strategically, looping feedback back into development
  • addressing customer benefits and experience directly in all communication

Instead of imposing technology on customers, such an approach connects with users through products and digital services - enabling successful business cases for smart products and digital services.

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About the author: Heinrich Lentz is the founder of Antimatter, a physical / digital product design agency in Vienna/Austria, and functions as its design director. Previously, he has been working in product and ux/ui design for agencies in Austria and Spain and lecturing at IED Barcelona. The design project for TTTech's Nerve device, pictured above, was developed by Peschkedesign.

This article was originally published by Heinrich Lentz on LinkedIn in September 2018.