In fact, they change the entire game. They re-invent the way we think. They create a want or need where we hadn't even imagined one to be. They spark spin off products and offerings — from their own company or others.
Let's look at a of couple game changers and see what makes them so revolutionary.
Keurig's Coffee Maker: This amazing little device has completely shaken up the in home/office coffee making experience. Let's look at the problems it solves:
- I make a pot of coffee but have to keep reheating it throughout the day so I can have a hot cup when I want it
- I make a pot of coffee but almost always end of throwing away most of it
- I want to enjoy a variety of coffee flavors but I don't want to buy a full bag or can of each flavor
- Sometimes I want hot tea or hot chocolate and can't make either in my coffee maker
Now… this little device has not only answered all of those concerns but it's also launched all kinds of new products (K-cups, display holders for the cups, a carrying case for traveling with your keurig coffee maker, water filters, etc. )
Apple's iPad: Like about half a million other people, I spent a fair amount of time this weekend playing with my new iPad. I'm not going blather on about the coolness factor (although it is incredibly cool) but instead let's look at how this product is going to change our worlds.
The iPad is a computer, for all intents and purposes. And it's going to change the fundamentals of how we expect to interact with our computers from this point forward.
- Kiss your mouse goodbye. We're all going to want to be able to just intuitively touch our screen and move files, re-size photos, click on items and scroll through multiple pages.
- Want to see that PDF in landscape mode? Prefer to look at that photo vertically? Just grab your "computer" and turn it and watch what's on your screen rotate to accommodate you.
- Want all of your entertainment completely mobile, with high resolution, great sound and full functionality? Now you can carry your movies (buy or rent), music, books and games. With lightening fast speed and impressive graphic capabilities — you're all set.
The iPad has been out for less than 48 hours and the accessories are already starting to fly off the shelves. Cases, keyboards, cords that connect cameras, screen protectors etc. I can't even imagine the apps that will be developed in the next few weeks and months.
Companies like Netflix, Amazon and many others are already re-tooling their offerings for the iPad, just like they did for the iPod.
But what about us? Of course…this needs to loop back around to you and me. Our companies aren't Apple. We probably don't have a huge development team working in the lab. So how can we be game changers?
If you look at the lists generated by the two game changers above, you'll see some common themes.
- Both identified "annoyances" that everyone else dismissed as being "just the way it is"
- Both looked at shifts in our daily life patterns and recognized a before non-existent opportunity
- Both took time to observe and hear "I wish I could…" wants and figured out how to make them so convenient that they quickly became needs
What if you surveyed your best customers and asked these questions:
- What are the three most annoying aspects of selling your house? (substitute your business appropriately)
- Complete this sentence: When it comes to selling my house, I wish I could…. (again, substitute accordingly)
While you're waiting for their answers, ask yourself how your customers' lives have changed in the past 5 years. What do they do differently? What doesn't they do anymore? What are they doing now that they never used to do?
Take your thoughts….and combine them with your survey results. I'm betting in the jumble of truths are some ideas worth pursuing. Ideas that could be your game changer!