October 26, 2009

A boring (but successful) approach to product development

Green manufacturing projects are attracting a lot of attention these days. Terms like "disruptive technologies" and "revolutionary new process" may grab headlines, but wise manufacturers know that widespread adoption by the masses requires more stealth tactics.

Solar energy, wind power and hybrid cars are sweeping through industrial sectors, but their long term success will require a seamless integration into the general public. A small segment of our society may embrace radical new ideas (products), but the bulk of consumers still resist change.

That's why product development leaders must consider ways to weave innovation into the mundane. These new products will gain greater acceptance if new technologies can be married with old school products that the public already accepts. This concept is being utilized at SRS Energy:
SRS Energy, a leading developer of solar roofing products, has announced the opening of a new manufacturing facility in Montgomery County, Pa. to support the production of its Sole Power Tile(TM) system, the first curved solar roofing tile designed to seamlessly integrate with Mission-style clay tile roofs. - SRS press release at Reuters
SRS Energy manufacturers a tile that mimics an existing style rather than producing an entirely unique product. From a distance, it may feel great that we are in the midst of social revolution, but when we have to be the first to try it people tend to cling to familiar safe havens.

Hopefully green manufacturers with smart product development teams will acknowledge this and create products that will be lend itself to quick, widespead adoption with this in mind.

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