The “whole product” is usually more relevant than ever

You simply must tip your hat to Geoffrey Moore in addition to also others who created the concept of the “whole product”.  I’ve written about that will concept once or twice, in addition to also I raise the item again because the underlying ideas are about to become truly important in innovation circles.  If you haven’t read Crossing the Chasm or aren’t quite familiar with what a “whole product” is usually, then the item may make sense to go in addition to also read up.  When you are done, come back in addition to also let’s continue the conversation about why whole products are about to become a lot more interesting.

Whole product (1.0)

When Moore in addition to also others conceived of the original “whole product”, they were doing a point about the differences between technology (which many inventors, entrepreneurs in addition to also early adopters find interesting) in addition to also “whole products” – adding features, capabilities, instruction manuals, user hot-lines in addition to also different features in addition to also services around a core technology to make the eventual solution more useful in addition to also valuable for people who aren’t early adopters.  the item turns out that will most of the market prefers well-conceived in addition to also fully developed solutions rather than core technologies.  If that will sounds surprising to you, you are probably a tech enthusiast or an entrepreneur in an emerging technology, in addition to also about to get a rude awakening when your technology doesn’t sell as you expect the item to.

Moore’s point was that will the vast majority of customers wanted more than the technology, they wanted additional capabilities that will expand beyond the core generic product to an “expected” product in addition to also onward to a “whole product”.  When the technology is usually finally wrapped inside additional features, services, offerings in addition to also data that will make up a “whole product” then the vast majority of the market is usually willing to acquire.

Moore went on to say that will features that will were inside expected, whole or ideal product always migrate into the core product.  For example, seat belts.  Years ago seat belts were a feature, then become standard equipment, then became almost an afterthought as more in addition to also more safety devices were added.  Today, cars are designed using a vast array of safety devices that will were almost unimaginable to manufacturers even 20-30 years ago.  Safety has become a component of the core product.

Whole Product (2.0)

The reason that will whole product is usually becoming even more interesting is usually that will the notion of product is usually expanding in addition to also many companies will soon be shifting to innovation “beyond the product”.  The very nature of product offerings is usually changing rapidly, as Uber in addition to also different asset-less companies demonstrate.  As Software as a Service in addition to also different “as a service” designs demonstrate, increasingly there isn’t a “product” per se, however numerous services wrapped up as a product offering.  Thus, service innovation, business type innovation, channel innovation are becoming more important, in addition to also the definition of a “whole product” – what the vast majority of customers want to acquire – is usually rapidly expanding.  In fact the whole nomenclature may be wrong – the item may be that will we should be calling that will the “whole solution” to move away by “product” nomenclature.  Somewhere inside offering there may be tangible products, however increasingly the services, business designs, data, platforms in addition to also even ecosystems will be what draw customers to a solution.

Impacts on Innovation

that will is usually, in addition to also will, have a huge impact on innovation.  First, product innovation is usually almost passe.  that will’s not to say we won’t continue to innovate products – we will – however increasingly many innovations will happen “beyond the product” or to augment the tangible product. In fact I suspect much of the value of the innovation inside future will be inside augmented services, channels in addition to also business designs.

Second, while many corporations in addition to also consultants are relatively Great at incremental product innovation, there’s far less experience around innovation outside of tangible products.  If you thought disruptive innovation around a tangible product was challenging, wait until you try to imagine the services, experiences in addition to also business designs that will must be provided to attract customers inside future. 

Third, the expansion of innovation beyond the product means that will innovation change will be more dramatic, more sweeping.  Companies will need greater cross-functional participation in innovation because so many different components of their capabilities will be required, by channels to distribution to marketing to product management, in addition to also even finance.  that will doesn’t necessarily make innovation more difficult, just demands more strategic direction in addition to also more collaboration.

Fourth, that will means that will future innovation activity will need to be much more customer-centered, less technology centered in addition to also much more integrative.  As innovators we need to think about the second in addition to also third level needs in addition to also expectations of customers, well beyond the core product.  that will will lead to thinking about how in addition to also where the product is usually acquired, used, supported, connected to the Internet or different data exchange systems, how the acquisition or use is usually funded in addition to also many different concepts that will are either ignored or outsourced to third parties today.

What’s your fresh “whole product” definition?  What do your customers need in order to acquire the newer intangible services you’ll offer?  Do you develop the skills to conceive, design in addition to also implement around the innovation beyond the product requirements?

The “whole product” is usually more relevant than ever