Last year we started developing products for a new industry – ergonomic solutions for the office – and that has made us rediscover just how important it is to know your industry
Ever since we started inventing in 2010, we've been focusing on equipment and tools for the building industry. The main reason for that decision is, that the experience you get from one project transfers particularly well into the next when you stay in the same industry.
One thing is the experience you get in developing products for a certain environment. Another thing is the insights you get in all the circumstances surrounding the product: the value chain, stakeholders and the challenges the industry is facing.
In our experience the latter is by far the most important reason to get to know your industry well – entering the office-industry with Opløft has just reconfirmed it.
Be a problem solver for the industry – not the carpenter
If you compare Upclimber and SlopeSystem, there are certainly some engineering tricks that has been used for both product. But it's way more important to know all the things that surround your product – the value chain and the stakeholders.
Every carpenter has a handful of challenges and good ideas to solve them, but often their suggestions are too niche, not viable as a business – or simply not a very good idea in the end. It's easy to get caught up in on carpenters problems, and knowing the industry helps navigate the real challenges and issues.
In the building industry the value chain is rather complex, and it's important to involve as many links as possible to get their perspective on the problem, the product that should solve it and even the business model.
With a green light from all stakeholders it just gets way easier for the product to get adopted by the marked after it's done. And of course it doesn't hurt, if they start to know you as a problem solver in their field as well.
Entering office: Synergy and a steep learning curve
When we introduced Opløft last year we also opened a new office/ergonics-department of our business.
In this new arena we were able to adopt some of our experience – e.g. developing with working environment in mind: The products have to improve ergonomics, but they can't be troublesome to use (as we learned from the Jib Crane last week).
But there has been a learning curve as well: what are the regulations and standards we have to know, how do you enter different markets, who does what in B2B and B2C and so on.
With Opløft we've been very focused on aesthetics, but that might not necessary be the best selling point for a HR department in a huge company, who looks more at features and price.
We haven't got the same results for the office/ergonomics as we have in the building industry yet, but just by making Opløft we're already way better equipped to make our next office-solution.
Remember what you do best
Launching Opløft has made us rediscover just how much you have to know about an industry if you want to make the best product.
Instead of inventing product everywhere we see a problem, we've been successful because we've spend our time getting to know our industry – and getting the industry to know us.
Entering a new arena is hard. When you do it – do it wholeheartedly.
Our first product was SmartMover, and we've been solving problems in the building industry ever since.