Tag Archives: Product innovation

Hi-Tech Fitness

Hate working out? It can be such a hassle – there is travel time, using equipment with other sweaty people, showering in messy locker rooms, and not getting enough personal training attention to make a difference. But still, fitness and health are important. What can be done differently to make workouts more enjoyable and fulfilling? Where’s the technology?

Enter Tonal: a San Francisco-based start-up company that aims to revolutionize how people workout by using high-tech to reinvent the workout system. The innovative product and service combines unique hardware, software, and an interactive LED screen to create a workout experience that doesn’t rely on old-school barbells and plates. Tonal can even sense when a workout is too easy, and add more weights for the next set to set the right level of difficulty.

Tonal is high-tech and effective, but not cheap. The machine itself is $2,995, plus custom smart accessories at $495, and a monthly subscription of $49 per month for 12-months minimum. The Tonal system mounts to a wall (similar to flat-screen TV). For the optimal experience, the system only needs access to a 7-foot by 7-foot space. Tonal measures reps, sets, range of motion, time under tension, power, and volume. The monthly subscription provides expert coaching via video with step-by-step instructions.

No pain, no gain.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students:Where do they work out? How much do they spend on gym memberships? On equipment?
  2. View Tonal’s Web site: https://www.tonal.com/
  3. Discuss the importance of clearly defining a target market.
  4. For Tonal, what is the target market?
  5. Divide students into teams and have each team develop a profile of a target market for Tonal. Include demographics, psychographics, behaviors, values, attitudes, etc.
  6. Based on the target market profile, what makes this product unique for these customers?
  7. Debrief the exercise.

Source:  New York Times

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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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