Tag Archives: Product innovation

Innovation: An Amphibious Prosthetic Leg

In 2004, U.S. Marine Corp. veteran Dan Lasko lost his left leg while serving in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, he is far from the only casualty of war; roughly 6% of all injured veterans have lost a limb. This makes it critical to innovate new solutions to help veterans return to an active lifestyle.

An active lifestyle was very important to Dan Lasko; the 33-year old has two young sons and all are active swimmers. But Lasko faced a unique problem in that that amputees cannot easily swim; prosthetics legs are not designed to go between land and water in a functional way.

In a collaboration between Northwell Health, J. Walter Thompson New York, and Lasko, the team designed and developed an amphibious prosthetic leg. Using extensive design and testing, “The Fin” was developed – 3-D-printed prosthetic leg that can help one naturally walk into the water, swim, and even dive.

Innovation changes lives.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the steps of the innovation process.
  2. Students: What are the critical factors to successfully developing a new product?
  3. Show the video of The Fin’s development: https://youtu.be/m8KmWGZvkI4
  4. More information is also available at: https://www.northwell.edu/about/news/press-releases/northwell-returns-amputees-water-creating-first-3d-printed-amphibious-prosthetic-leg
  5. There are numerous other innovations that are focused on improving lives. Divide students into teams and have team search for a similar problem, and solution, to the one discussed in this case.

Source: Ad Week  

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Register Robot System in Japan

Do you ever get tired of waiting in line to check out of a grocery store? In the future, the check-out process will be streamlined, using more robotic registers. Recently, Panasonic teamed with Lawson food stores in Japan for a trial run of its new robotic check-out system. The “Reji-Robo” robotic check-out uses RFID tags to scan the items in a shopper’s basket, and then even bags the groceries automatically. (RFID tags are thin, small electronics components that wirelessly communicate within a short distance.)

Panasonic’s robotic check-out is somewhat similar to Amazon Go’s concept store in Seattle. However, with Reji-Robo, customers get a sensor-equipped basket when they walk into the stores, then choose items and place them into the smart basket. In a step beyond Amazon Go, the Panasonic basket once placed in to the robotic check-out system, automatically computes the transaction, the bottom of the basket opens, and the items are automatically lowered into plastic bags for the shopper.

The RFID system also holds promise to speed up the supply chain, increase accuracy, improve productivity, and improve inventory control and tracking.

What’s in your basket?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss some of the more frustrating and costly parts of retail and shopping.
  2. Show the Panasonic video: https://youtu.be/Hpp-3Ver7ig
  3. If students are not familiar with Amazon Go, view the video and concept at: https://www.amazon.com/b?node=16008589011#
  4. Discuss the four primary marketing strategies: market penetration, market development, product development, and diversification.
  5. Which strategy is Panasonic using for this product? Why?
  6. Divide students into teams. Have each team select one of the four different strategies and explain why that strategy could be used to market robotic check-out systems.

Source: Brandchannel.com

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Sharing Happy Hour with Pets

Americans increasingly treat pets as more than just an animal or belonging – we treat our pets as important members of the family. Pet owners now look for healthier choices and lifestyles for pet care, fundamentally shifting consumer behavior and spending. The pet care industry represents more than $20 billion in the U.S., and, according to Nielsen Research, 95% of pet owners consider their pets to be part of the family. This attitude carries over into shopping for food, treats, toys, and specialty items.

Therefore, it was just a matter of time for companies to develop new product so that humans could share celebrations and happy hour beverages with their pets. The newest category of product is faux wines for cats (and dogs, too)! With clever names and packaging, the category is expanding. People can buy their kitties bottles of “Catbernet,” “Pinot Meow,” and “Meowgarita” from Denver-based Apollo Peak. Or, buy “Dog Perignon” and “Dogtini” from Pet Winery in Fort Myers, Fla.

Of course, since alcohol can harm animals, these wines are actually alcohol-free. Using organic ingredients and catnip, the beverages are aimed at people who want to enjoy celebrations with their pets. But, as most cat owners know, cats can be quite finicky. In taste tests, some cats loved the products, while other cats simply showed their disdain.

Happy hour, meow?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: How many have pets? How much do they spend on their pets?
  2. Show the Web site for Apollo Peak: http://www.apollopeak.com/
  3. Also show Pet Winery: https://www.petwinery.com/
  4. Videos can be viewed at:

https://youtu.be/g1b4V_DJ-oo

  1. The Chew: https://youtu.be/4DiO8MZTmnU
  2. Divide students into teams.
  3. Using a market-product grid, have students develop target markets for pet owners. Then, put categories of products across the top (Ex: food, toys, treats, wine…)
  4. Which target markets represent the best opportunity for pet wines?
  5. How should the products be marketed?

Source:  New York Times, Nielsen Research

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