Category Archives: Insights

Healthcare Innovation in Elder Care

If there is one big topic that people want to talk about these days, it’s healthcare. From stories about recent hospital experiences to concerns about healthcare costs and the best ways to manage healthcare – there is a real buzz around our health and the ecosystem designed to protect and support it. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported that the healthcare industry is growing faster and will add more jobs between 2014 and 2024 than any other sector. Healthcare support occupations and healthcare practitioners and technical occupations are projected to be the two fastest growing occupational groups during the projections decade. These groups are projected to contribute the most new jobs, with a combined increase of 2.3 million in employment, representing about 1 in 4 new jobs.

We would also like to discuss healthcare but with a different twist… We see a convergence in the need and opportunity between the growing elderly population and the potential of the IoT to connect equipment and people. Why this topic and why now? There is no denying that our population is aging. In fact, recent statistics show that by 2024, the world population is expected to reach 8 billion people and of this number, 1.2 billion of these people will be elderly. Moreover, we have seen IoT solutions, when applied properly, can gather data and yield meaningful insights to improve care and lower costs.

As an innovator, this situation is both exciting and overwhelming. The opportunities available to use the best-in-class technology and innovation to support this growing elderly population is unprecedented. However, 2024 really isn’t that far away – particularly when it comes to new product development and adoption.

This is exactly why, when our team is talking about healthcare, we’re talking about the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT), which is the latest in technologies and how to get the latest in medical device technology into the hands of those who can really benefit from it.

Healthcare Challenges
Our healthcare infrastructure is stressed and overburdened. During a recent webcast hosted by our parent company, Jabil, and presented by Lorraine Marchand, one particularly interesting slide compared the U.S. and Western Europe healthcare performance by country. The results showed that the most expensive care typically resulted in the lowest level of satisfaction. Hospitals are stressed with the demands of patient care, staffing needs, rising costs, lack of funding, and capacity issues. Combine this with the sad reality that we are a sicker population and the hard reality that change is slow to come to the healthcare industry. More people are working harder and at a higher cost, to deliver mediocre care.

The existing infrastructure – regulation, payer models, care system – make a wholesale change unrealistic. While it would be ideal to rebuild the system, this simply is not realistic. That slow pace of change doesn’t allow for wholesale redesign or updating. Rather, what is needed is realistic vision for improvement, and the implementation of a series of discrete, but highly impactful steps forward that enables better patient care, better management of staff workloads, and encourages better use of existing resources.

Enter IoMT – the opportunities this new domain of connected devices, cloud technology, and medical devices are powerful. Exciting – yes. Overwhelming – yes. Necessary – yes.

So, where to get started?

IoMT for Better Elder Care
We appreciate that opportunity is packaged with challenge and risk. The good news is that by working together, we can give you the tools and knowledge to focus on your idea and to really harness the opportunity – while we do the work to minimize challenges and risk that come with innovation and opportunity. Our focus is on bridging the gap between insight through to commercialization, minimizing risk, maximizing rewards – ultimately getting your idea into the hands of those who need and want it.

This brings us back to your big opportunity: improving elder care with IoMT. Here’s our quick brainstorm of ideas on how we see IoMT affecting healthcare for the better – making it easier for the entire infrastructure to support the increasing demands of our growing and aging population.

  • Ease of monitoring. Many elderly people are managing conditions that require constant monitoring, involving conditions, caregivers, and medication regimes. This places a great deal of stress on these patients, often making it harder to control and manage conditions such as heart disease, COPD, diabetes, and stroke side effects. Real-time and simple monitoring and appropriate analytics of key factors such as heart rate activity and glucose levels allows doctors and patients to be directly connected to insights that inform improvements in care rather than more and more raw data – easing the burden on patients to remember to self-monitor and ensuring these patients are being monitored with minimal disruption.
  • Medical compliance. Compliance costs are between $100B and $300B each year. The reasons are diverse and need to be monitored and managed differently. This is especially true for elderly patients. Smart apps and product design can work to ensure that patients are gently reminded to take their daily medication and to send alerts to both the patients and the healthcare practitioners when dosages are missed. However, smart solutions that to not require smart phones are also available and effective.
  • Maintaining independence. Not only are hospitals overburdened but so too are nursing homes and residences. Factor in that most elderly people want to continue living in their own homes – and there is opportunity to take advantage of virtual monitoring and robot technology. Using simple-to-use apps and touchscreen technology, seniors can easily connect to family, friends, and healthcare providers – all of whom can help support these seniors while ensuring that they are living well and safely. This also serves to help manage the cost of care by keeping patients at home longer rather than in dedicated healthcare facilities.
  • Daily quality of life. For many seniors, it’s the things we take for granted that become frustrating – hearing well, seeing properly, and hand dexterity. Inserting cumbersome hearing aids or trying to manipulate a modern smartphone with small buttons and a slippery surface can be a challenge. Smart technology that creates an environment tailored for our aging population, such as connecting a hearing aid to items in the home such as the volume control on the television or radio or connects to a smartphone or tablet when a call is received, can take the stress of managing the simple tasks of life.

This is just a snapshot of how we can take the best in IoMT and use it to really make a difference in the lives of real people.

It is really about making a difference – improving the lives of seniors and their families and easing the burden on the healthcare system, while also managing the cost of care. We’re excited about these possibilities and like you, we want to see them come to fruition. Our team of experts will take your idea from paper to reality – giving you the power to make a difference. Remember, now is the time to get started – contact us and let’s talk IoMT and changing lives.

Smart Homes Lead the Way

Way back in 1975, technology was developed that paved the way for how so many of us are living and interacting with our homes. Developed by Pico Electronics, X10 was the first protocol that supported electronic device communication to enable home automation.

What strikes us is that 42 years ago, a company of innovative thinkers saw an opportunity and forged ahead to provide a solution that is still being used today. This speaks to the power of human-centered design and in knowing how to take advantage of the best in technology to meet the needs of today’s consumers.

Taking Advantage of Smart Home Automation
Like every innovation, it only makes sense if it solves a need or problem. This is what makes smart home automation so exciting, and essentially limitless. The Internet of Things (IoT) has gifted us the ability to always stay connected and in control.

It is in our homes that this connection and control is becoming ubiquitous and now the standard in new home design. Smart home automation is a prime example of how an idea translated into an opportunity which then converted into research of how to harness the latest in technology to meet the needs of today’s consumers.

Yes, the smart home automation of today (and the future) is emblematic of how Radius experts and leaders think about using the best-in-class of ideas, research, analysis, human-centered design, and technology to give us what we need to make our lives better. Discovery and design – brought together for true innovation.

Here are some of our favorite ways to use smart home automation to make your life (and your dog’s life) better at home and away from home.

  • Open and Close Doors: If saying “open sesame” to open your garage door, front door, or any other door in your home gets you excited – well the good news is you can do it. Remotely control the doors in your home with voice commands or a swipe/tap of an app on your smartphone or tablet.
  • Home Security: Have you ever said to your partner “I wonder what the dog is doing right now?” Well, wonder no more. With the smart application of interior cameras and outdoor monitoring systems, you can know what your dog is doing and monitor your home from wherever you are. For example, while on vacation, get alerts when your dog sitter comes in or the paper is dropped off on your front step or when an unwanted guest attempts to break-in.
  • Stay Healthy: You know how interested we are in medical device technology and the IoT, and now with great innovation in smart home automation, we’re seeing ways we can be fully in connected with our health and wellness. Step on your scale and have an update sent to your fridge to adjust your daily meal plan. Feel-at-ease when you’re not able to visit an elderly family member, with robot technology that can monitor and communicate with both you and your family member.
  • Never Be in the Dark: Coming home to a dark house late at night or turning lights on/off on a schedule when you’re away or using motion detectors to turn on night lights – the options are limitless when it comes to lighting. Smart bulbs that change color, lighting systems that react to your motion allowing for hands-free light control, or emergency lighting systems connected to your smart home security system can all make your life safer and more convenient.
  • Cooking, Cleaning, and Mowing: Control your sous-vide cooker, electric smoker, or oven from your office so that your food is cooked and ready for you when you get home. Unexpected company, no problem with smart vacuums, mops, and lawn mowers who are working for you when you can’t (or don’t want to).
  • Too Hot or Too Cold: Perhaps one of the most popular uses of smart home automation is the control over our heating and cooling systems. A range of systems are available to make sure your home is cooled and heated however you want from wherever you are.

We want to hear from you – tell us on the Radius Facebook page what you’d like to see in smart home automation or about your favorite use of this technology.

Smart Home Communication Options
While X10 remains in-use today, we’re now seeing a new wave of home automation and communication technology in 2017. By taking advantage of the knowledge, technology, and consumer need – we’re see innovative thinking coming to life.

  • X10: pioneer in smart home communication. Started as being hard-wired – is now wireless. X10 systems can be complicated to install when compared to newer wireless compatible devices.
  • UPB: Universal Powerline Bus is powerline only and as a result is expensive and not used in new devices.
  • Insteon: developed to connect powerline-based and wireless communication protocols. Compatible with X10 and newer wireless devices.
  • Z-Wave: home automation protocol that runs on 908.42MHz. Uses the mesh network to relay messages from one Z-Wave device to another. This low power dependent technology is ideal for devices that rely on battery power.
  • Zigbee: an 802 wireless communication standard. Uses the mesh network to communicate and is used in many devices.
  • Wi-Fi: the most ubiquitous communication network that supports a range of home automation devices. Can be challenging to secure bandwidth though in a house with multiple Wi-Fi devices.
  • BLE: Bluetooth Low Energy is used in a range of devices but is not the primary protocol for home automation devices. Has a limited range and is not ideal for tools/devices that need to be connected at all times.

Generally, if you’re new to smart home automation, it’s best to choose either Z-Wave or Zigbee since there is a wide range of devices that can support your home automation needs. If your home is using X10, then it’s worth transitioning to Insteon, which allows you to use wireless smart home automation.

Smart Innovation for Better Living
The smart innovators are those who are taking advantage of the best in research, design, discovery, prototyping, and critical thinking. The opportunities that can and will work are those that have been studied, debated, discussed, and reviewed from all angles – this is smart innovation.

In knowing how you can take your idea, turn it into a feasible opportunity that meets the needs of consumers – while ensuring a cost-effective and viable business, you can be part of the next wave of smart innovation.

Discover your true potential with the Radius team of experts working for you to eliminate barriers to success – keeping you on top. I’m looking forward to posting a series of blogs on this topic, coming soon!

How the Internet of Things (IoT) is Advancing Healthcare

Individuals are more connected to and are taking ownership of their daily health.

Healthcare is a hot topic for everyone these days. Individuals are more connected to and are taking ownership of their daily health with devices such as Fitbits, home blood pressure monitoring devices, and smart watches. In the healthcare sector, manufacturers are becoming fully invested in the Internet of Things (IoT) and what it means for medical equipment, including connectivity, communication, monitoring, and data collection. Researchers are leveraging the ability to collect and aggregate more data to uncover deeper insights into health needs to unlock more meaningful solutions… digging into how they can use the cloud and integrated technologies to provide education opportunities, lead remote training, and quickly share and communicate key data with another. Insurance companies are trying to learn how they can use the data provided by personal devices and that from medical equipment to better deliver customized health insurance, and in some cases, to drive behavior.

This all adds up to huge opportunity for change, growth, advancement, and success. The key though is to remember that IoT is a vehicle, but the success comes from understanding how to implement IoT to create value for the user, HCPs, insurers, etc. A deep understanding of this value helps cut through the sea of what can be done, and uncovers what should be done; to use the best of IoT to advance healthcare technologies and communication. Success starts with uncovering opportunities to generate value and finishes with mastering and leveraging the right technology solution to deliver the value. To do this properly, it’s necessary to take a step back and really understand what the opportunities IoT offers you and how you can translate this into real innovation.

Harnessing the IoT
The real conundrum lies in how to best harness the IoT for your distinct opportunity. The industry is buzzing about the IoT but we need to really understand what the possibilities are for each company. Naturally, IoT is not the best solution for some opportunities, whether due to the particular stakeholder need, cost drivers, or simply due to the state of technology itself.

Knowing when and how to take advantage of the latest technology and then knowing how to develop this technology to meet your unique needs is what we do. We are experts in innovation, on uncovering opportunities and capitalizing on them, and in making sure that your unique opportunity is realized to its full potential. Part of our uniqueness is in the multidisciplinary approach with folks advocating for the user, with experts in understanding technology possibilities, and with experience in commercializing solutions. This can’t be done with a few spreadsheets and brainstorming sessions, instead we take an iterative and connected approach to fully understanding, researching, testing, and prototyping your ideas and opportunity.

  • Do you know what struggles your customers face?
  • Do you understand their world and the broader set of technology and business solutions available? What technologies are working and not working?
  • Do customers want what you’re offering? Who are your customers and what are they currently using
  • What are the latest in FDA standards and ISO regulations?
  • Do you understand the real cost-resource-company benefit of your idea? Is the expense of production going to smother your revenue?

Yes, there is a rush to market and being the first to offer the latest connected solution but it’s vital that you’re coming to market with the right solution. We want to bring our experts to work with yours so that, together, we can fully realize the potential that IoT offers you and your market.

Personal health monitoring adds up to improved peace-of-mind, decreased healthcare costs, better care, and more informed doctors, healthcare providers and patients.

Doing More the Best Way Possible
Knowing what the best opportunities are and how to use these the best way possible that will result in success for you and real benefit your customers.

Within the healthcare space, there are a number of areas of convergence where IoT is making significant impacts and where Radius is being called upon to assist.

  1. Home and personal monitoring. Think smart watches that monitor blood pressure, heart rate, and provide alerts to remind people to drink, move, and sleep. With an older demographic, we’re seeing a need for connected and smart alerts to remind people to take their medication, to alert doctors when there has been a missed dose, and personal in-home safety tools such as video monitoring, emergency call buttons through-out the home, and monitoring solutions for dementia patients. When done correctly this all adds up to improved peace-of-mind, decreased healthcare costs, better care, and more informed doctors, healthcare providers and patients.
  2. Remote healthcare. Telemedicine has been hovering in the background for a while now and with the real advances in connectivity, cloud technology, and communication, we’re now able to realize this opportunity. From providing better healthcare to rural communities to offering specialist services to smaller hospitals to providing live training and education to students/doctors/nurses in environments that lack access to experts – remote healthcare is ready to break-through.
  3. Medical device technology. This is the realm that seems to bog down the healthcare system, the delay in getting results to the patients, consulting specialists, insurance companies, and other healthcare providers. Now with the IoT we’re seeing the ability to quickly and seamlessly communicate vital test results, scans, and data, eliminating the two-week wait for results and stress on behalf of the patient. Real-time outcomes of blood analysis while the patient waits or the instant display of an MRI to a specialist in another hospital or instant access to health data for a patient who is being transferred via ambulance.

A Front Seat
Radius is privileged to consult with many clients as they explore and harness the power of IoT within their new product ideas and evolving business and service models. From the latest in wearable technology and oral care, to sophisticated remote monitoring, auto-alert , diagnostic and drug delivery devices, we are witnessing first hand. – The IoT is advancing healthcare – making life better and healthier for everyone involved.

How can we help you?

Manufacturing – You’ve Come a Long Way

So often we take for granted the technologies we’re using today and forget how far we have come in such a short period of time. Manufacturing is an area which has experienced rapid growth and change, particularly in the domain of rapid prototyping.

Today, we enjoy the benefits and advantages that rapid prototyping brings to new product development, but we need to remember that it’s only been since the 1980s that this level of prototyping became an accepted approach in the manufacturing process.

Now, in a relatively short period of time, an approach that was used by some outliers has paved the way for new de facto standards in how best to approach new product design realization, manufacturing, testing, research, and ultimately productization.

It’s impossible to know where we will be in five or 10 years with rapid prototyping and technologies such as 3D printing and modular manufacturing. However, we do know that this is one of the most fascinating and critical aspects of the manufacturing and productization process. As costs, time, and resources become even more precious, the ability to move from compelling concept to product quickly and efficiently will be even more of a game changer.

Rapid Prototyping and Your Concept
Rapid prototyping can be utilized at any stage of the development process, from early research through stages of pre-production. Building iterative, low-fidelity prototypes early in the product development lifecycle process can be a powerful tool to help speed and gain clarity on concept decisions, design directions, hands on user experience insights, design intent validation, latent feature discovery, and more. To really deliver on your concept and vision, be sure to take advantage of our expertise in:

  • Digital/Physical Prototyping
  • 3D Printing Technology
  • CT Scanning Technology
  • CNC Machines
  • Rapid Tooling
  • Full Low Volume Assembly

The Proof is in the Prototype
In the 1970s and likely before, designers and forward-thinkers were using technologies such as paper topographical maps, photosculpture, advanced use and placement of cameras, and polymerization to build models. This intersection of technologies is what has brought us to where we are today.

With what is now considered rather basic or rudimentary techniques, which involved a great deal of time, cost, and labor, engineers and developers recognized the value of seeing the concept in real-life before rushing into production.

It is the drive and commitment to finding better ways to design, build, test, analyze, and ultimately deliver a better product that has pushed the advances we are using today.

Hardware development relies on proven and tested iterative rapid prototyping from start-to-finish using methods such as:

  • Napkin sketch
  • Ergonomic modeling
  • Works-like modeling
  • Works-like/Looks-like/Feels-like modeling
  • Iterative pre-production low volume Alpha prototyping
  • EVT/DVT build and test

You also need to know that your prototype is going to work. Making your prototype works is crucial to developing a compelling offering in the marketplace. This is where the Radius team works with you to ensure that you can deliver on this proof of concept with our advanced use of:

  • 3D Printing
  • Machining
  • Zund Digital Cutter
  • Laser Cutter
  • Urethane Casing
  • Thermoforming
  • Welding
  • PCBs

These new prototype methods allow us to move at a faster pace through product development and allow us to use higher fidelity tools to hone in on consumer needs while offering a better user experience much earlier in the process. This actually lowers overall product development costs, speeds transfer to higher volume manufacturing, and gets a more compelling product to the marketplace to meet immediate consumer needs.

Rapid iterative prototyping is a tool that can be applied in various forms from research through early production.

This is the real future of manufacturing and we’re leveraging the advantage of world-class, award-winning, cross-functional, and cross-cultural talent with customer relationship and project management specialists and a worldwide quality management system all under one roof with the latest state-of-the-art equipment.

INNOVATION. REALIZED. RAPIDLY.

We don’t know where manufacturing and rapid prototyping will be in 10 years, but we know that we’ll be there pushing boundaries and setting the standards that will continue to push manufacturing forward.

With the faster and more accurate prototyping tools we have available today, we are able to bring the power of prototyping to help us better uncover and refine user needs, create more compelling user experiences, and craft better-designed products. This all leads into Accelerated Product Introduction (API) that not only delivers faster to the marketplace, but also comes with the added confidence that you’re delivering the right product at the right time.

Focus on the Customer Experience!

Go Beyond the Transaction – Understand the Journey.
In this high speed and highly connected world, organizations across the board, from small to global enterprise, are thinking about the Customer Experience (CX) and what happens to it in this digital world. Hardly anyone thinks of the CX as someone else’s problem within a company or isolated to the “Customer Service Department”. Those days are long gone. Today the CX is everyone’s responsibility and must be considered a true “journey” that is affected by every stage of your value chain and contemplated in every phase of product, service, or new business model design and development. We believe it simply can’t be an afterthought or just one person’s/group’s job. Here are some staggering statistics on the importance of the CX to the “C” suite, from a variety of analyst firms and consulting firms:

As for Investments, of the companies Gartner surveyed, 50% of product investments will be redirected to customer experience innovation. And TSC‘s survey found, 60% of organizations see customer service as the top source of competitive differentiation in the next 3 years.

Just as compelling are the benefits of focusing on the customer experience including the entire “customer journey” when dealing with your company:

Understanding your “customer’s journey” in terms of how and when they engage with you, is critical. Every channel they use, every thing they see and experience, the product they touch and how they touch it or interact with it, what kind of service they get before and after a purchase, how easy things are to use, are all incredibly important elements of the journey and of the experience overall.

For example, in the Grocery Retail world, the customer journey insofar as traditional brick and mortar has gone from bad to worse. Most people do all of their shopping online. It has become so frustrating to shop in a traditional grocery store.

For example, today when I arrived at my local grocers, I couldn’t find a shopping cart at the store’s entrance. When I finally found one, the wipes to clean the cart handle bar, were empty. As I moved through the store, the price was missing from 3 of the products I was interested in purchasing. To add insult to injury, one of the products I wanted that was advertised on sale was out of stock. And the most frustrating part of the entire experience was the self check-out kiosk. It drove me bonkers – not recognizing when I put an item in the bag and the clerk coming over to reset me about 5 times.

Really? Wow. This whole experience was more than annoying. It sucked. And look what happens when an experience sucks:

At Radius, we engage with customers to develop new products, services, or business models, by working with them from ideation to commercialization. The CX is front and center. We never lose sight of it for a minute. Since the ideation to commercialization cycle is full of opportunities, challenges, risks, and rewards, we deliberately determine the experience you want to create up front and then ensure it is threaded through the entire development cycle. We do this by assigning a cross-functional team as soon as we start working on a project. This team, includes researchers, strategists, designers, engineers, manufacturing experts (if hardware is involved), supply chain and pricing experts, and regulatory experts (if it’s a regulated industry). This team approach ensures the CX is maintained through every stage. The best road to a successful, end-to-end product or service introduction is paved with constant end-customer touch-points and a deep empathy for their wants and needs.

Sounds basic, I know, but in reality, staying in lockstep with the end customer you are servicing is an iterative process that must be integrated into every phase of your development process—from insights, planning, discovery, design, and development to delivery.

Recently a few big retailers have called on us to talk about what cool new technology they could use in the face of this looming competition from the Amazon/Whole Foods union. We stopped them right in their tracks and said, “let’s think about what your customers are feeling and their journey before we dive into sensors and beacons and near field communication devices.” Technology is nice, but its a means to an end. The end being a superior customer experience that can’t be touched by your competitors.

7 TIPS TO HELP YOU AMPLIFY YOUR CUSTOMER’S VOICE
Here are key tips for making sure your customer’s voice comes through loud and clear:

1. Consumers Hold the Power – Get Connected
Make no mistake: your ultimate customer isn’t the distributor or retailer dangling the promise of shelf space or digital media promotion in front of you. It’s the END CONSUMER who actually uses your product or service. Speak to them, listen to them, and innovate for them and with them. Social media sentiment analysis is one of the most important ways to listen to customers and the abundance of analytics tools will help you listen for both positive and negative sentiments about your latest product launch or offering. Our “Radius Epiphany Analytics” services, allow our customers to see, in real-time, what their customers are saying from across the web. Those sentiments and experiences throughout a “user’s journey” are then factored into the full innovation and product development work we do.

2. Forego the Features Arms Race – Focus on the Ease of Doing Business
Consumer buying practices are no longer driven by who ticks off the most feature check boxes. Avoid the race to produce a product overloaded with features. Instead, figure out which features deliver the most value and a compelling experience for customers. And find out what they like and dislike about the entire process of doing business with you. The experience throughout the entire journey, from signing up, to trying, to buying, to returning, to online or phone support, matter. Features and functions are so yesterday. Simplicity, elegance, and ease of use are more important than one-upping your competitor in a features war.

3. Focus Groups Are So Mad Men – Go with Try & Buy or CABs
Focus groups play better on TV than as a service or product development strategy. Instead, embrace ethnography to observe consumers interacting with products in their actual environments to uncover inarticulated needs and insights for innovation. Follow that with in-home user testing (IHUT), where consumers take home your product, use it for days to weeks and chronicle their experiences. Or “try & buy” if your offering is software based. It’s really the best way to get real-time feedback about how to optimize your product’s value proposition.

If you are a large enterprise selling to large enterprises, there is nothing that beats a customer advisory board (CAB). This consists of 8-15 of your top customers meeting regularly to review your strategy, your product road map, and to even help you trial run some of your new products before they enter general availability. CABs are an incredible thing, but the key is strong facilitation, constant report out, and making customers feel like they are being listened to.

4. Value is KING
Deciding the final product price shouldn’t require a divining rod if you understand what your customers value most. Value can come from the finish, quality, and a differentiating user experience. Value drives cost, so never lose sight of the relationship between the two.

5. Keep your Brand Pristine
Never, ever trade on your brand equity to sell higher volumes at lower prices. It’s a short-term strategy that you’ll pay for at some point. Be a good brand steward and say “no” to all things that could affect your brand in a negative way and don’t deliver on your brand’s promise. The best brand protection strategy is to build products with your customer at the center of everything you do. Everything else emanates from that crucial point of view and will fall into place accordingly.

6. High-Velocity Value Chain
Gone are the days of 12-18 month cycles. Customers/consumers, especially those buying online, want to see new value monthly, if not weekly. Think about your iPhone or Android and how quickly your apps get updated. That’s the bar that has been set. If you don’t continually provide VALUABLE improvements, customers will turn to your competitors. Marketing can’t do this alone, the entire internal value chain from the innovation process all the way to delivery needs to move at the speed of digital. It’s important everyone in the organization is connected digitally and constantly collaborating. Customer support, sales, product marketing, product management, R&D, and anyone that has anything to do with the end delivery of a product needs to be lined up and ready to go.

7. Technical/Customer Support
The only thing I will say here is DO NOT FORGET to implement a strong support strategy. Regardless of the distribution channel you sell through, never abdicate an opportunity to speak to a customer directly and build a relationship with them. Customer support is your way to stay engaged, show customers the love, and develop new ideas for value that you can deliver by constantly monitoring and measuring their satisfaction level. Ask questions during support calls like: “if you could wave a magic wand and change one thing about this product tomorrow, what would it be?” Record their answer, and if you implement their input, remember to thank them. You will earn a customer for life when you implement a change they requested. If your solution is software based, make change/enhancement requests easy, and based on “popular votes.” Give loyalty points, discounts, and offer other incentives to keep the feedback flowing. And remember, everyone in the organization should focus on customer satisfaction. Everyone should be asking the magic wand question.

Remember to deliver support in a manner in which your customers want. Whether it’s a chat line, phone number, web submission, in person availability, or all of the above. Customers/consumers want to operate the way they want to operate in this highly connected world.

In summary, thinking in terms of a buyer’s journey is transactional and tactical. Thinking in terms of an entire customer journey and creating an optimal CX throughout is strategic and will help you attract and retain your customers for life.

If you are planning a new service or product, or you just want to upgrade the existing one, let us empower you with an ideation and journey mapping session at Radius. It’s amazing what you will find out about the many unspoken needs and frustrations customers have. Eye-opening, in fact! For more information contact us here.

Or, if you are interested in an exciting career opportunity in research, strategy, design, prototyping, engineering, manufacturing, or supply chain, please feel free to check out our Radius career pages or that of our parent company, Jabil! You will be amazed at how much fun it is empowering some of the most exciting brands in the world!

Look what some of those Brands are empowering today:

Here’s the full infographic:

Leveraging Empowered, Cross-Functional Program Management to Accelerate Product Development

The expectations for cutting edge consumer products and customized user experiences have never been higher, and companies are under enormous pressure to meet these demands under ever tighter development timelines. Significant advances in analytical modeling and accelerated prototyping can help reduce time to market, but companies need every advantage to squeeze precious time out of the development cycle and into ROI. Adopting an empowered, cross-functional model for program management is a means to streamline the development process while delivering maximum value to end users.

Classic program managers are the backbone—and frequently the unsung hero—of the product development team. Tasked with overseeing project execution and outcome, they work to keep the project on rails: driving timelines, managing project budgets and personnel, interfacing with key stakeholders, and proactively identifying project risks. The Program Manager (PM) is an essential role on any project team, but through a model that pairs empowerment with accountability, they have the opportunity to achieve their full potential and greatest impact.

The foundational mindset is to view the PM as a small business owner supported by a board of directors. This mindset encourages PMs to adopt a broad view that starts with a clear understanding of what success looks like. It then empowers them to create a holistic plan that considers risks and consequences, and encourages them to be vigilant for obstacles. A small business owner is certainly responsible for administrative oversight, but the “ownership” mindset takes a more holistic view of their entire “business” and requires wearing multiple hats to guide their venture toward ultimate success. In a similar way, the empowered PM fuses classic program management with technical leadership, plus key finance and marketing principles, to more effectively assess and direct the course of their project. Most importantly, a business focuses on its clients, and this mindset drives the PM and team to seek a deeper understanding of the clients’ success and to think dynamically about how to achieve it.

The empowered PM is a technical/content veteran, with a mastery of the multidisciplinary process to innovate and develop solutions. This allows them to step in and mentor the team, often bringing their experience to bear to tackle tough decisions or navigate bouts of uncertainty. In more traditional frameworks, barriers often form between the classic PM and the technical team, with the PM sometimes viewed as a bureaucratic obstacle. This serves to add an unnecessary layer of communication, causes information siloing, and impedes decision velocity. An empowered PM breaks down those silos with the technical expertise to communicate effectively with their team and with the client in real time, enabling them to provide rapid feedback or quickly engage planning arms when technical challenges or opportunities arise. The empowered PM becomes a conduit for information and assessment, able to make rapid yet informed decisions or recommendations. This broad understanding and perspective also helps to identify potential changes of project success criteria which, when identified and tackled in a timely fashion, may yield greater overall ROI.

Bureaucratically driving project execution to a rigid plan without regard for evolving stakeholder needs, market shifts, or new technical or financial information is a missed opportunity. Through finance and marketing empathy, the empowered PM engages stakeholders to continually assess the existing approach. Is the project’s charter and current trajectory still appropriate? Are there new opportunities or challenges that warrant refinement or course correction? This attitude creates a fundamental shift from the project as a relatively static entity, to a constantly evolving engagement (a business!) focused on delivering maximum value.

Adopting an empowerment model for Program Management may seem like a stretch for some companies, with a concern that greater flexibility will cause timelines or budget to increase, or encourage unchecked risk taking. At Radius Innovation & Development, we actively employ an empowerment model and have found that the opposite is true. Radius PMs are technical experts that are assigned to lead projects based on their unique skill sets. Additionally, since new PMs often do not possess every skill set required, best practices are well documented and there is a training and mentorship framework in place to provide them with the background they need to be successful. Radius leadership adopts a rigorous project review process by reviewing project “health” with regularity to ensure that PMs are properly supported. In this process, the PM and Radius leadership assess risks and opportunities, client needs and goals, and ensure that we are all still doing the right things to achieve the project goals. While senior management provides high level oversight and close collaboration with our project teams, the PM is given significant autonomy in managing the project and recommending course corrections. As a result, PMs at Radius take personal ownership of their projects and are incentivized to identify creative solutions that minimize development timelines while yielding greater value. Team cohesiveness and effectiveness benefit from eliminating the silos between classic program management and the technical development team, as well as other stakeholders in finance, marketing, and beyond. The demands for streamlined product development are not going away and empowering PMs to more holistically manage their projects and enable their team is a key ingredient to long term success.

Will an empowered program management model work for your business? What are the obstacles in place that hinder such an approach?

Wireless Power – Not a moment too soon!

How many of us have dreamed of a future without cords and outlets? How many have hoped for ubiquitous wireless power that makes connected independence a reality? Or just wished for a work space or home office that doesn’t look like a hairy monster, cluttered by cords and an accident waiting to happen. And the problem is only going to get worse, because according to many sources (see the Infographic below for sources), the rise of “internet connected devices” that require power, will grow to epic proportion. Imagine just the devices in the home office alone competing for the power bar?! Well, a solution has arrived and not a moment too soon!

Bellevue, Washington based Ossia has made the seemingly impossible a very real and viable technology, becoming the first company to develop a safe, efficient and viable wireless power solution. Cota™, Ossia’s patented smart antenna technology, enables wireless charging of smartphones, wearables, remote controls, smoke alarms, electric toothbrushes, AA batteries, and more—without wires, plugs or charging pads. A revolutionary idea that has been coming together for nearly a decade, Ossia uses technology similar to Wi-Fi to deliver wireless power by safely targeting energy to devices at a distance.

To all those who heard about it, Cota seemed too good to be true… but as Jabil quickly learned – it wasn’t! Ossia partnered with Jabil, and put our specialized product design, engineering, and manufacturing expertise to work for Ossia. The CTO had this to say:

“Having all these cutting-edge technologies in one place shows that when it comes to innovation, Jabil leaves nothing on the table. The Blue Sky Center is a fantastic example of how the latest advancements interact and work together to create next-generation products.” – Hatem Zeine, Founder, CTO and Chairman, Ossia.

Now, let’s shift gears for a minute, and imagine this technology working for you! You are an innovator (whether you are part of a large R&D team within a global enterprise or in one of those cool tech start-ups), and you are trying to deliver a solution that needs power; Connected home and Consumer products, Connected Healthcare, like prosthesis or home care devices, Connected Factory floors, etc. but can’t or don’t want wires everywhere?! Can you imagine your differentiation and the possibilities?

We can! And we can even help you take this technology and design and develop those possibilities at Radius, Jabil’s Innovation & Development consultancy.

For more information on this incredible technology, please connect with us here and we will be happy to explore the possibilities. Alternatively, you can check out the full case study on Ossia here.

Enjoy our Empowerment Video, to help you think through how you might empower the world:

3 Reasons New Product Development Fails… and how to avoid them!

Design for Manufacturability (DFM) is one of the most important processes of new product development.
I lead a group of young Boy Scouts. As the scouts prepare for their first camp out and hike they learn several outdoor safety and survival skills. This includes many firsts for them, their first exposure to first aid, their first time packing a backpack, their first night spent in a tent and their first time striking a match. Coaching, preparation and skill are key to great hikes and camp outs.

Similarly, coaching, preparation and skill are key to successful new product development. Just as failing to prepare can ruin even the best camp out or turn a glorious hike into a deplorable journey, those involved in developing a new product can run into sleepless nights and failed product journeys.

The process of going from idea, through prototyping, manufacturing and final delivery can be undermined by ignoring what could be considered the outdoor safety and survival skills of product development. Let’s look at three top reasons why new product development can fail.

Here are the Top 3 Reasons Why New Product Development Fails:

1. The design cannot be manufactured.
You have a wonderful idea, complete with detailed CAD files. But without considering the realities of manufacturing, your design may be doomed from the start. Ignored Design for Manufacturability (DFM) has been the demise of too many brilliant product ideas.

How can you avoid ignoring DFM?
Focus on proactively designing and re-designing products optimized for all areas of manufacturing: fabrication, assembly, testing, procurement, shipping, delivery, service, and repair. At Radius we make sure each product meets strict standards for cost, quality, reliability, regulatory compliance, safety, and time-to-market. Our team of designers and engineers have leveraged DFM skills for thousands of products for hundreds of customers.

2. If manufactured as designed, costs would be too high.
Your idea looks great on paper and you may even have a working prototype. But your design doesn’t take into consideration the true costs of production, either in low volumes or at scale. Even the greatest new product will not succeed if the economics don’t work.

How do you control costs?
It’s estimated that approximately 70% of a product’s manufacturing cost is determined by its design. An elegant design may look good, but is the extravagance validated by market research indicating a higher willingness to pay for the extravagance? We look deep inside markets through market research, industry analysis and human factor analysis to validate product features, ideas and strategies.

Designing for a manufacturing method that makes economical sense for the product is also crucial. Take, for example, an elaborate product design with parts made possible because of additive manufacturing. But if 3D printing economics don’t work in your favor, can injection molding or CNC machining produce the same parts without breaking the bank? We understand the cost benefit analysis for this situation and more.

A look at how a product is manufactured can also result in cost savings. Thanks to our intimate relationship with our parent and global contract manufacturer, Jabil, we know how to automate in order to reduce production costs for scaled manufacturing. And when it comes to component costs, through Jabil’s worldwide parts and supply chain network of over 27,000 suppliers we are able to secure components at lower costs even for the smallest low volume assembly runs.

3. Prototype fails to convince customers, executives, and investors.
Your 3D printed prototype looks like a plastic kid toy. Can the way it looks convince even early adopters to spend? Will your business unit manager buy into the idea that they should allocate budget to something that looks like a gimmick? Will a VC, who is likely to have seen a dozen similar products, invest in your idea if they’ve seen a similar prototype with a true looks-like, feels-like professional finish?

How can you make convincing prototypes?
The best prototypes don’t ‘look’ like prototypes, they look like the real thing and are convincing and compelling to customers, executives and investors. Radius designers offer an exceptional advantage when it comes to testing and re-testing prototypes. They make sure that prototypes not only meet all DFM specifications, but that the final working prototype is a looks-like, feels-like finished product.

What if a fully functioning, looks-like, feels-like prototype would be too expensive? Our Radius DFM experts can pair physical prototyping with augmented reality. This can save tens of thousands of dollars in the DFM process. Check out this glimpse at how our design team leverages Microsoft HoloLens to test and visualize new prototypes:

Have a new project you’re interested in discussing with us?

Contact us today to learn more about our DFM approach and how we can help drive improved customer brand engagement while accelerating your products to market.

Managing Risk During New Product Introduction

Under the right conditions, risk can be a great thing. It can motivate you to think outside the box and help you discover new opportunities. Of course, unmitigated risk can cause loss of a business, loss of professional confidence, or even loss of life. A healthy approach to risk keeps us moving forward but leverages experience

Risk keeps us moving but also keeps us from going too far.

to inform our path and avoid over extending. This healthy approach starts by asking questions: what could go wrong, what are we able to control, and what’s worth the effort to control? The answers to these questions determine the right path – steering us away from chaos, wasted time / budget, or alienating our target market.

Let’s be honest and blunt: whether you are a start-up, a mid-size or large corporate enterprise, there are always risks when introducing a new product to market. It’s how you prepare for, assess, manage, and monitor these risks that matter. At Radius Innovation & Development, we want to understand your circumstances and actively engage with your risks to help you realize success. How do we do this? It takes experience, savvy, and candid communication.

Talk, Listen, Learn
At Radius, we have 25+ years of experience helping to bring innovative new products to market. We also have a diverse cross-functional team of savvy professionals who are adept at uncovering risks and assessing them from different angles to turn them into opportunities, or find the best way to manage them. But perhaps most importantly, we understand that risk management is a team sport. When our clients endure the discomfort and have an open conversation about risk, it always uncovers new challenges, opportunities, and informs a better overall approach.

Yes, a big ask. We’ve all worked in environments where the knowledge sharing doesn’t happen or where teams are working in segregated functional silos with minimal to zero cross-communication. There is a reason why the Radius team doesn’t work like this… we’ve all been down this path and know that it doesn’t work. Therefore, we work the way you do, leveraging processes and techniques that build trust and get project teams to open up, discuss problems, ask questions, and work through some tough answers in order to learn. It’s also why we place so much emphasis on truly listening.
The Right Tools at the Right Scale
In too many organizations, risk management is performed using a single process and a single prescribed tool or set of tools, without consideration to the parameters of the project or its measures of success. At Radius, the breadth of projects we work on—from brand strategy to full product development and new product introduction—has forced us to be nimble. We’ve developed a flexible quality management system (QMS) and processes that can be tailored for a very light-touch which will emphasize speed, optimize ROI in high-risk / high-reward scenarios, or be scaled to ensure your mission-critical launch is achieved on-time with a design history file that stands up to full regulatory scrutiny. Because of this diversity, we’ve become adept at assessing each project and collaboratively selecting the most applicable tool(s) and applying the correct level of risk management rigor. We also keep up-to-date with current and future technologies, industry standards and regulations, user trends, and how these all impact opportunities for each new product introduction from start-to-finish.

Does your organization have an informed but flexible approach to risk management, and do you feel like it’s truly a value-add capability? If not, do you know who to talk to improve your situation, or can we help? Radius’ clients often utilize our QMS to facilitate more effective risk management than their systems might allow or to cover gaps in their system.

Changing Technologies, Changing Times
Introducing a new product nowadays requires many elements. More and more of these elements include the seamless integration of physical and digital development cycles and accelerated qualification and launch schedules. Does your team have the experience and band-width to effectively manage this complexity and hit your targets? Or could you benefit from a team that’s been there before? Whether you leverage internal experts or turn to partners like Radius, you need to identify the riskiest elements of your technology and address them early.

When managing this complexity, we often employ an iterative process to guide product development and new product introduction. In the past, iteration cycles were too costly and schedules were often made or broken by “getting it right the first time.” But the accelerations gained from modern analytical tools and the Radius Digital Prototype Lab enable the theoretical and real prototype iterations necessary to make adjustments and optimize technical details at a pace that will meet a launch time frame.

Using Risk to Your Advantage
This is how we prepare for, use, manage, and monitor risk to guide our product development process. We use the latest risk management tools and techniques, talk and discuss your opportunity with our diverse experts to set the right approach and use the latest technologies and techniques to analyze and prototype earlier and more often.

Along the way there will be some twists and turns and your original idea might not be the one that we all agree is the best one to develop – but we will have found the very best opportunity for your market.

The risk lies in chasing an idea without knowing if it is what people want or even care about. This is where the chaos comes in. We work with you to minimize this chaos and use the risk to push us to ideate, innovate, and realize your opportunity. From start-to-finish we’ll make sure we are communicating, developing, and moving in the direction that makes sense for you and your brand.

Innovation. Realized.
It’s what we do.

Have a new project you’re interested in discussing with us?

Contact us today to learn more about our approach and how we can help drive improved customer brand engagement while accelerating your products to market.

Radius at Alibaba’s Gateway ’17

China’s Alibaba Group is the world’s largest retailer, surpassing Walmart and generating more gross merchandise volume than Amazon and eBay combined. Alibaba reaches their customers through a combination of B2B, C2C, and B2C portals. Their Tmall.com portal, launched in 2008, is the 8th most visited website in China, specializing in global brands who want to sell to an increasingly affluent Chinese consumer base.

Alibaba’s Gateway ’17 (Detroit June 20-21), was the Chinese e-commerce giant’s biggest-ever public event in the United States and Radius Innovation & Development was there to present our capabilities.

The overall purpose of the event was to introduce US companies to the vast Chinese consumer market while highlighting how Alibaba and its partners are making cross-border e-commerce easier and more profitable through innovative, web-based sales, logistics, and digital marketing solutions.

To prepare for their Gateway ’17 event, Alibaba sent their Tmall Discovery team on a road trip to interview influential Silicon Valley technologists. Contact us to learn how Radius is helping Alibaba deliver on their vision of a seamless shopping experience by harnessing the latest developments in augmented reality and new product development and introduction.

Have a new project you’re interested in discussing with us?

Contact us today to learn more about our approach and how we can help drive improved customer brand engagement while accelerating your products to market.