The rise of the ‘entrepreneur’ as an aspirational goal has spawned many fanciful ideas into products or services. But not every idea is necessarily ‘sellable’ or needed, no matter that it is imaginative and new.
When surfing the internet I found one example which seemed to give credence to my view. Mosquito netting socks were showcased on swissmiss.com as a product “the world doesn’t need”.
Well apparently at $19.95 US we need them, and whats more can buy them, along with an extended range of other ‘mosquito’ protective clothing.
From ‘great’ idea to product
The makers clearly
- identified a problem,
- saw a need and niche,
- developed and tested the product market,
- obtained a manufacturer for their product, and are now
- marketing the product.
Innovation Excellence have identified an 8 step process for perfecting product or service development which on the face of it seems to have been applied to this product. That it has got this far and features as part of an extended product suite would attest to this.
What is one person’s useless product is another’s genius idea
While my views align with swissmiss on this product (that it is not needed) it is interesting to see the array of comments by readers of their post. The comments demonstrate that many see this product as meeting a real need and thus, presumably, that people would be willing to buy this product.
Only one commenter stated the obvious rather beautifully.
“but wouldn’t it be easier to just wear simple socks” @lindsay
While this is a small sample of the marketplace it seems, swissmiss, myself and @lindsay are in the minority when it comes to seeing the value in this product.
Take home learnings on product and service development
My take home learnings from stumbling across this somewhat ‘useless’ product (in my mind) are that
- my views are but one of many and don’t reflect the diversity of the marketplace!,
- no idea is necessarily stupid – it will appeal to someone,
- tapping into the ‘problem’ as defined by customers will greatly influence a products success,
- capturing and promoting the unique value of the product to the customer helps to capture the hearts and minds,
- there is a huge and diverse market and marketplace available to entrepreneurs via the internet
- pricing and marketing will make or break new products,
- ultimately how successful a product or service will be will reflect the results of these key factors, and finally
- that a product is a bit quirky might not disqualify it from being successful (the ‘snuggle’ and ‘slanket’ are two cases in point).
Don’t believe me – check out the great infographic below courtesy of Forbes 10 Simple Product Ideas That Made Billions
Where to from here
“The customer’s perception is your reality”
When looking to develop new products or services put yourself in the customers shoes.
I would love to read some of your thoughts on this issue, please feel free to leave a comment, or suggest some other contentious products or services for showcasing.
About the author – Helen Attrill, MBA
Hi, Just a bit about myself – I have over 26 years as a leader in the aged care and not for profit sector and have led the successful implementation of significant sector, profession and organisational change.
If you’re struggling with some aspect of change management or frustrated with your progress then maybe I can help please feel free to contact me by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To find out more about my work visit Meet Helen page.