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Product and Service Innovation - Getting all ends right

Being innovative is an imperative in today's era. And, organizations across industries, geographies and sizes are working hard on coming out with new products & services.

But, the harsh reality is that not all "ideas" turn out to be "good" products & services, and not all good products & services become success stories (aka, achieve the desired targets and expectations).

In this race for being innovative and successful, organizations - big or small; established or start-ups often focus upon the research and development dimensions of innovation. And, in the zeal to have a "good" value proposition, they end up underestimating (or even completely ignoring) the criticality of go to market / launch phase of the innovation process.

I recently ended up experiencing an example of this syndrome and the invention innovation gap first-hand.

I am a client for a financial services firm, and they have come out with a new product focused on kids. Being a father of two, I was quite excited to see this product introduction. Clearly a differentiator and ticked the boxes to be classified as innovative. So, I showed the interest in the product to my relationship manager and he echoed my sentiments that it's a great offering indeed.

We got talking about getting it, and that opened a Pandora box.

This financial services firm has been strategically focusing on digitization and I have been doing all my regular activities on the web or through their App. In case of any transaction not feasible through web / App, I would have the relationship manager come over to office or home (because they "optimized" the physical branch network), or send out documentation via mail or post for me to sign. All good.

But, for this new kids product - the product access is feasible only through a application form available on their tablets (remember digitization). And, that required me to visit a physical branch and spend 20 - 30 minutes per application. That's 40 - 60 minutes of time (I couldn't believe my ears).

And the application form processing has been designed such that neither it can be printed for physical signatures, nor the system allows my relationship manager to fill the details offline on the tablet and get my digitial signatures (5 - 10 seconds of my time). So, I am left stranded. A nice product on the face value. But, I can't even get it (let alone have kids use it).

Left me wondering, if the product managers and the leadership team at this financial services firm had considered all user experience dimensions or was the focus totally on getting the product out to the market!.

We shouldn't forget that innovation is not same as invention. I often call innovation = invention successfully commercialized. Having a great product or service is not sufficient for success. A customer (B2B or B2C) has to be able to consume it and put to use for getting the desired output and value.

Organizations aspiring to be innovative, need to focus on the holistic customer experience journey and get all ends right of the product and service innovation process.

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