HBR: Do People Really Want Smarter Toothbrushes?

InsightaaS: Harvard Business Review (HBR) is recognized worldwide as a leading source of management insight and innovation. In this post, Gordon Hui, an executive with experience design and innovation consultancy Smart Design, uses the announcement of a web-enabled toothbrush to delve into building IoT businesses that harness sustainable customer demand, navigating "the inherent tension between a focused value proposition and expanding feature lists."

Recently, Procter & Gamble’s Oral-B announced the release of its first ever web-enabled toothbrush. Setting a new standard for dental hygiene, the next SmartSeries toothbrush will include a smartphone app, helping users to know if they are brushing too hard or if it’s time to brush another area of their mouth. If that’s not enough, the new Oral-B connected toothbrush experience also suggests nearby dentists for you, gamifies teeth cleaning, and even provides weather updates. Sounds exciting, but does it make sense for the customer?

Call them user needs, customer requirements, or jobs-to-be-done, understanding what a customer wants and is willing to pay for is more important that ever now that the Internet of Things is upon us. Decades ago, Harvard professor Theodore Levitt popularized the rationale behind why people buy quarter-inch drill bits: "People don’t want quarter-inch bits. They want quarter-inch holes." And the challenge now is that the actual drill might connect to the cloud, collect information about your drill usage, and tell your friends on Twitter that you just used your drill, too. Technology advancements are quickly outpacing traditional use cases, making the design and development of meaningful products harder than ever.

To create truly meaningful IoT-based products and experiences for customers, companies must understand their needs, which starts with three important questions...

Read the entire post: http://blogs.hbr.org/2014/03/do-people-really-want-smarter-toothbrushes/