Category Archives: Insights

Packaging Innovation – Trends to Understand for Acceleration

Successful innovation is difficult, expensive, and risky! Over the last decade multiple published studies across the globe report innovation failure rates in the 75-80% range.

Failure means these new products are not returning the required significant investment made or sustaining their planned revenue expectations. The reasons include:

  • Market research is skewed by the wrong questions or rendered useless by failure to view results objectively
  • Poor market pricing – too high to warrant purchase, too low to be considered of value
  • Lack of market demand in an undefined category
  • The product revolutionizes a new category and requires substantial consumer benefit education—but doesn’t get it and therefore ignores
  • Lateness – competition have already launched with a market accepted solution

In a world where people are constantly on the go, a product’s performance, convenience, and sustainability are table stakes for leading brands. This is the instant gratification generation and now is the time for market leaders to take innovative steps to better serve their customers and win in the face of powerful competition – on the shelf, online, and in the home.

The Role of Packaging in Successful Consumer Goods Innovation
Gone are the days when packaging was just a means of protecting and identifying a product. The role of packaging in a successful consumer product must perform these basic functions, but the impact of packaging is increasingly far greater.

Good packaging innovation influences and reinforces:

  • Price – through its perceived value, actual cost, material choice, supply chain length, and complexity
  • Performance – through its design, ease of use, content accessibility, and ability to educate the purchaser/user
  • Convenience – through its on-time/demand delivery of connecting the product to the purchaser/user
  • Brand Values – through features such as sustainable material choices
  • Brand Position – through its design relevance and how the physical package matches brand position and essence
  • Differentiation – through how the package design stands out versus others in its category and connects with the purchaser/user, who in turn are increasingly sharing their views and experiences in a connected world.

Innovative product packaging increases the chances of new consumer goods products succeeding and can extend the product lifecycle of existing products. To be successful at packaging innovation, it is imperative that the latest consumer trends that follow are understood and incorporated into the latest design thinking:

Global Urbanization – Across the world, the populations of major cities are expanding. This exponential growth is driving up the cost of both living and business space.
Implications – packages become smaller due to lack of storage. Single serve packaging increases. There is more frequent restocking of goods in home. Out-of-home consumption of goods increases. This latter trend drives the need for convenience and “on-the-go” products and services. With increasingly busy and on-the-go lifestyles, consumers expect more from and easier access to products, preferring those that seamlessly integrate into – and enhance – their lives.

Experience Seeking – Increasingly consumers are not just buying a discrete product. They are also buying experiences and access to a brand’s community. This is not only something consumers need but something they value to help them determine who they are and how they define themselves.
Implications – the role of packaging in augmenting the values and experience with a brand is increasing in importance.

Mass Customization – Consumers today have evolved to want what they want when they want “it” and exactly how they want to receive and experience “it”. Firms must respond in more creative ways to this need of mass customization, which in theory can increase product complexity and costs. This calls for innovative products, packaging, and agile supply chains.
Implications – low volume production, user designed added-value features, responsive packaging that can respond/act given certain condition – e.g. printing ink that helps tell you if your beer is cold enough.

Online Fulfillment – Consumers needing the ability to get what they want, when they want it means distribution models are changing. The ability to have goods delivered directly to individuals can mean bypassing the traditional brick and mortar model. As online fulfillment has become more pervasive in our lives across industry verticals, it has presented more consumer needs, more opportunities, and different challenges for brands and suppliers. The steps consumers are taking before (and after) a purchase is changing. More time is being spent researching available options online before setting foot inside a retail store. Voice-recognition technology is advancing and becoming a staple in households.
Implications – The ordering of goods is becoming easier. Package designs need to be optimized for shipment. The out-of-box experience and return process needs to be carefully considered to avoid damage to the brand. The online presence of a brand needs to be optimized and differentiated, as does the complete omni-channel consumer experience.

Emerging Middle Class – In markets around the world, consumers are climbing the economic ladder and they’re bringing new levels of disposable income and spending habits. This trend brings opportunities for brands that have the strength to compete with traditional local brands. It also brings challenges such as brand protection, security, and safety.
Implications – packages need to help secure and authenticate products for consumers to trust them.

Alternative Channels – Consumers are embracing shopping outside of the traditional retail store model where a brand competes for shelf space and visibility – the “moment of truth” of catching the eye and dollars of a passing consumer. Pop-up stores as well as online and mobile apps are just a few of the channels making headlines by mixing tangible and digital experiences.
Implications – These new ways of selling represent new “first moments of truth,” as well as out-of-the-box opportunities for differentiation and rapid trial product launches for quick market testing.

Environmental Consciousness – Sustainability: It is no longer just a trend or a wish-list item. Sustainability has become an absolute necessity for consumers. In fact, multiple research studies show how consumers are more likely to buy a product if the company is trying to be sustainable. At the extreme, the actual need for packaging is challenged.
Implications – New natural and organic products and packaging materials, reduced packaging, reduced supply chain footprint, and streamlined waste recovery. Packaging needs to go far beyond protecting and identifying goods in a sustainable way. Its existence needs to be augmented by adding value to the experience of the product and brand.

Digitalization & Connectivity – The advancement of sensor and connected technologies with the overall miniaturization of electronics presents further opportunities to create new products, brand experiences, and deliver more value. Computers and smartphones have become key features of day-to-day life and activities. Digitization provides consumers the opportunity to manage digitally-integrated products at their fingertips with ease.
Implications – Packaging is increasingly becoming more of a device which performs functions such as being a delivery mechanism, ensures compliance, is smart and connected to the internet, as well as collect and transmit data, such as current and future predictions of consumers’ buying habits.

More than ever, market leaders are embracing packaging innovation to drive competitive differentiation, increase revenue, lower costs, speed up time-to-market, and connect with customers in new and compelling ways. The ability to align brands more closely and consistently with consumer lifestyles, smart devices, and the internet is transforming how customers choose and interact with consumer devices, CPG, consumer healthcare products, as well as food and beverages.

Did you know that the combined power of Radius and Jabil can show you results in as little as just 4 weeks? Together, we represent the only vertically-integrated solution with both design and mold capabilities under one roof! Our Packaging Sprint offers CPG customers the ability to work with one partner, to answer the most critical questions that determine financial viability, technical feasibility, and desirability of an innovative packaging idea. With accuracy, speed, and reduced risk, we enable you to beat your competition at delivering compelling brand and product experiences to drive your business growth.

Want to hear more? Check out these on-demand webinars where we speak more in depth about these topics – Packaging of the Future: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3

Or better yet, contact us to learn how you can do this with accuracy, speed, and reduced risk!

A Packaging Innovation Sprint – How can You Claim the Winners Podium as Innovator?

Innovating in the consumer goods packaging space is hard, costly, and risky due to many internal and external factors. Design firms providing outsourced research and design consulting services are rarely vertically integrated and don’t have direct access to Tier 1 manufacturing experience and expertise. Specialized rigid or flexible packaging solutions providers tend to be separate suppliers. No one in the packaging industry is doing intelligent/smart packaging with any real active lead. And finally, due to consumer goods companies being large conglomerates or lifestyle businesses specializing in key segments (i.e., consumer goods, food & beverage, beauty, etc.), they can be slow with decision-making, work in functional silos, and risk averse.

Over the past two months, my colleagues from Jabil Packaging Solutions and I have been guiding webinar attendees to think about what success looks like for their brand’s packaged products. The first webinar in the three part series focused on market trends and dynamics that are driving product innovation. In the second webinar, we took a look at the technological trends taking place within the plastic packaging industry, which included sustainable packaging, smart packaging, devicification, and packaging for e-commerce. Our final webinar was all about how to successfully innovate. A full packaging solutions partner with functional, hybrid, active, intelligent, and consumer device solutions is best equipped to enable national brands to increase top and bottom line revenue, market share, and win in an increasingly competitive retail landscape.

We believe consumer goods brand leaders who don’t innovate packaging for sustainability, performance, and convenience will lose in the retail race. But innovating in the consumer goods packaging space is hard, costly, and risky due to many internal and external factors. In the last decade, multiple published studies across the globe have reported innovation failure rates in the 75-80% range. Failure means these new products are not returning the required significant investment made or sustaining their planned revenue expectations.

Good packaging innovation influences and reinforces price, performance, convenience, brand values, brand position, and differentiation. Innovative product packaging increases the chances of new consumer goods products succeeding and can extend the product lifecycle of existing products. To be successful at packaging innovation, it is imperative that the latest consumer trends are understood and incorporated into the latest design thinking.

More than ever, market leaders are embracing packaging innovation to drive competitive differentiation, increase revenue, lower costs, speed up time-to-market, and connect with customers in new and compelling ways. The ability to align brands more closely and consistently with consumer lifestyles, smart devices, and the internet is transforming how customers choose and interact with consumer devices, consumer packaged goods (CPG), consumer healthcare products, as well as food and beverages.

WHAT DOES THE RADIUS/JABIL SOLUTION ALLOW THE CUSTOMER TO DO DIFFERENTLY?
We can help drive, test, build, analyze, and prove packaging innovation ideas under one roof in a matter of weeks.

Radius is a global innovation and product development consultancy firm integrated into one of the largest and most technologically advanced manufacturing solutions providers: Jabil. Our integrated insight to commercialization model offers our CPG customers the ability to work with ONE partner, to answer the most critical questions that determine financial viability, technical feasibility, and desirability of an innovative idea.

With accuracy, speed, and reduced risk.

The Outcome? We enable you to beat your competition at delivering compelling brand and product experiences to drive your business growth.

The combination of Jabil Packaging Solutions and Radius enables our team to deliver all of the pieces necessary to accelerate through to an innovative solution that contains all of the elements required for market success. We utilize world-class researchers and strategists, human factors and UI/UX specialists, designers, engineers, as well as quality and manufacturing implementation professionals, with deep experience in multiple technologies across industry verticals. Most importantly, everyone possesses deep packaging industry expertise, all under one roof, and can work with each client to navigate around the barriers inside and outside their organization.

PACKAGING INNOVATION SPRINT – HOW WE DO IT
How well “baked” are your ideas?
How much analysis has your company already done?
Have you satisfied the needs of your key stakeholders?
Have you appropriately mitigated go-to-market risk?

Whatever the answers, the sprint model has been designed for maximum flexibility. Ultimately, you choose!

Level 1 – Tailored Analysis of Ideas

Level 2 – All-In Analysis of Ideas

CONSULTATION (1 day)
Each engagement initiates with a 1-day consultation with our team to assess the challenge.

WORKSHOP (1 Week) – Opportunity Mapping
Determine and align key stakeholders on fruitful opportunity spaces, align on business priorities, and determine what initiatives to scope

END USER DESIRABILITY – Concept Sprint (2 weeks)
Quick exploration of concepts to solve a pre-defined problem, identification of a set of product or system configuration that are feasible, viable, and desirable. Develop initial Go-To-Market strategy hypothesis.

END USER DESIRABILITY – Concept Sprint + User Test (4 Weeks)
Quick exploration of concepts to solve a pre-defined problem, identification of a set of product or system configuration that are feasible, viable, and desirable. Develop initial Go-To-Market strategy hypothesis and demonstrate user and stakeholder acceptance

TECHNICAL FEASIBILITY – Concept Sprint + Build It (4 weeks)
Quick exploration of concepts to solve a pre-defined problem, identification of a set of product or system configuration that are feasible, viable, and desirable. Develop initial Go-To-Market strategy hypothesis and demonstrate feasibility.

FINANCIAL VIABILITY – Costing & Supply Chain Strategy (2 weeks)
Establish cost estimates for components and capital, leverage Jabil Control Tower to identify the appropriate Jabil region and factory, and leverage IDSC to optimize cost.

Innovative product packaging increases the chances of new consumer goods products succeeding, can extend the product lifecycle of existing products, and elevate brands. Successful innovation requires an idea and a plan that is actionable by the business and results in business value. We can accelerate packaging innovation ideas under one roof. Contact us to learn how you can do this with accuracy, speed, and reduced risk.

Demystifying Experience Design

That idea for that perfect product that is going to solve common day-to-day problems is amazing. People are excited about it and the buzz is palpable. However, there is one lingering question – how will users actually experience it? How will this idea change their day-to-day now that the problem is fixed? Will users react positively to having their routine changed or will they bristle at the change, even though it’s clear that the changes are positive?

Knowing how users will truly interact and experience an idea is at the core of experience design. We get a lot of questions about experience design and why it sets us apart from other companies out there. Admittedly, we can understand the confusion about this key cornerstone to innovation – a simple Google search returns pages of confusing articles about one of our core principles.

And this is exactly why we’re talking about experience design: what it is, how it happens, why it matters, and some examples of how it is making a difference. Now, when you get asked by your boss why it is you need a team that lives and breathes experience design to take your idea to the next level – send her this article (better yet, share it on your Facebook page so you can help us take the mystery out of experience design).

Experience Design: What It Is
For the Radius team, experience design is encapsulated by this company-wide understanding:

Your customers are more demanding than ever. To grow, you need to target your sight beyond what is needed today, to understand unarticulated needs and emotionally link your brands to your users. We can help you deliver a better brand and user experience for your customers, creating products, and systems that optimize function, value, and appearance.

This essentially comes down to really knowing your users. First, we get to know you by digging deep into your idea, with the goal being of uncovering unexpected opportunities, challenges, barriers, and room for growth. Knowing more about your idea then allows us to ask the right questions about your users and their experiences: both current experience and your planned for experience.

Planned for is the key here. Remember, your idea at this stage is very much just an idea. To get it to the next level of an actionable and testable prototype, you need our human factors experts doing their best for you.

Experience Design: How We Do It
Good human factors and experience design experts ask questions and hope for answers.

We are more than good – we are experts at human factors and experience design. The Radius approach to experience design pushes and breaks boundaries to discover what it is your idea will ultimately do to your users.

Good or bad. We need to know – do your users want it? Do they care about it? Is this a real problem you’re solving or is it a problem you created to support your idea? How will your users react to this change (remember, not everyone in your market responds well to change)? Are you ahead of the game and bringing this idea to market too early? Or are you behind and simply trying to catch up? How and why are you wowing your users and is this wow-effect a one-time moment or is it an instant connection that allows everyone to grow and flourish?

It’s this kind of thinking that separates us from the good. To be the best in innovation and ideation, you need to step outside your comfort zone and be ready to have your emotions, beliefs, and attachments prodded, pushed, and bent. This is what we do for you.

We immerse ourselves in your user’s experience and see things from their perspective. By using tools such as cognitive walkthroughs, user journeys, risk analysis, experimental design, wireframes, rapid prototyping, and usability testing, – we see and understand the way your users do.

This process allows us to look beyond the physical and digital to learn about the emotional reactions and attachments your users have to the problem you’re trying to solve. What we learn always surprises us – we don’t enter this relationship with any preconceived ideas about what the user wants.

With an open mind we ask, listen, respond, and innovate.

Experience Design: Why It Matters
In one word: tension. This is what happens when your user buys your product and it doesn’t live up to expectations. Your user really wants your product to solve their problem and satisfy their needs. In fact, they’ll likely try repeatedly to get your product to work and fit into their day-to-day. And when it doesn’t, your user is frustrated and disappointed, eventually rejecting your product and brand.

You had the best of intentions – deliver a product that would solve a problem. You told your users that this is what you would do. And then you didn’t. This is how you get to that horrible place in the customer relationship: tension and broken promises.

This is why experience design matters. Experience design, when done right identifies the tension triggers and prevents you from ruining the relationship. Eliminate tension, deliver on your promises, give users what they really need, and make the day-to-day better.

Experience design does this and more. Delight your users. Give your users an experience they want. Manage this change and innovation so that your users are open and ready for your idea.

The Radius Effect: Discovery, Design, Development, and Delivery
Innovation is the thread that binds the Radius team together. It’s what makes us excited to get to the office and start working. We are the lucky ones – we get to be in on the ground floor of some of the most innovative and leading products on the market today. Yes, we really are living the dream.

We help our clients (you) make life better for others. Browse our work portfolio to see how we’re helping make your day-to-day better.

Let us help you solve the right problem the right way with the right approach.

The Future of Wearable Technology

Wearable technology has undergone some growing pains and has suffered a perhaps not undeserved reputation of being rather geeky or just an expensive toy. But, despite this reputation, wearable technology has made some important inroads in the fitness and healthcare markets, and the latest Apple and Samsung smart watches continue to add features almost as fast as they add new fans. All of this indicates that wearable’s moment has arrived and that it’s here to stay.

Wearables: Today and Tomorrow
The most successful wearable devices today are the ones that manage to transform ordinary objects into something digital and interconnected. From a smart toothbrush that is connected to your dental care provider, to smart watches that track your fitness, and keep your appointments and emails in order. But is this where wearable technology is going? Will it remain a niche? Will it ever get rid of its whiff of geek?

HMI: The Future of Wearables
Technologists predict that in the very near future, most smart devices will lack a traditional screen and keyboard as their main form of Human Machine Interaction (HMI). This spells the end of the smartphone and even laptops and desktops as we know them. This will spawn a new era where wearable HMI is the prevalent tech of the day. Think of trendy glasses that deliver a widescreen experience directly to your retina, while bare hand gestures replace the mouse and traditional keyboards.

User Experience: Harmonizing Digital & Physical
Successful wearables of the near future must fit seamlessly into a consumer’s lifestyle, and a single wearable device must create a physical and digital experience that ensures that the end user is immersed in an ecosystem of augmented reality that helps make their day-to-day life easier.

The result will be an active digital/physical augmented reality community where wearables become a required part of the daily routine.

End to End Solutions
As the world’s largest manufacturer of wearables, Jabil and Radius Innovation are in a unique position to bring this new generation of wearables from concept to commercialization and into this new world of HMI dominance.

Emerging Wearable Trends & Technologies
Radius is currently actively addressing diverse growth opportunities for wearables in the consumer and healthcare spaces, from feasibility studies and research, to trade-offs in size, cost and functionality. This ongoing research allows us to support a full volume launch of new wearable technologies at an earlier stage of new product development than most brands could achieve on their own.

Our HMI experts and engineers are currently developing advances in precision mechanics design to help reduce wearable hardware size while increasing comfort, and our UI/UX experts are hard at work developing digital solutions that help translate complex data into simple, useful and engaging wearable solutions for the end user.

Case Study: MISFIT FLASH WEARABLE FITNESS TRACKER
Learn how Radius’ accelerated design for manufacturing is helping an up and coming wearable brand lower costs and increase profit.

The Efficacy of Wearable Technology

The actual beginnings of wearable technology is one that is up for debate. Was it in 1472 when Leonardo da Vinci started counting steps? Or was it in 1788 with the creation of the Tomish Meter, the first pedometer created by Thomas Jefferson? How about 2003 with the release of the Vitatron C-Series fully digital pacemaker? This pacemaker gave medical experts the technology to download patient data in just 18 seconds.

This early innovation has created the boom we have today in wearable technology applications. Now, we’ve got more wearable applications than we ever thought we’d need or use. And this is exactly the issue plaguing the innovative wearable technology industry – need or use. Who needs this technology? How is it going to be used? Is it useful data?

A quick scan of the news swirling around wearable technology either heralds the breakthroughs of this evolutionary technology or it laments its demise. Like us, you’ve read the articles about how this technology can make our lives better. However, on the flipside, we’ve all read the articles about major companies laying off their wearable teams and walking away from future wearable innovation.

Leading the Change in Wearables
As innovators and ideation experts, this debate over the future of wearable technology is the best possible opportunity we could ask for. That’s right, the unknowns surrounding wearables opens doors rather than closes them. This is a chance to do something special with wearables – to take it beyond advanced step counting or sleep monitoring and reshape it to give real application to modern and future life.

For our human factors experts, the untapped potential of wearables gives them the chance to question and understand what people really want. Does the everyday person really want a band that measures steps? When does this data become irrelevant to daily life? What does knowing one’s heart rate mean to an individual who is not an athlete or doesn’t have a history of heart disease? Is this the problem – that we’re giving the wrong people this information?

These questions force our industry analysis team to really dig into where wearables can and might go next. Is it all going to be about smartwatches or will the evolutions of biosensor medical tattoos catch-on? How long will it take for advanced innovation, such as ink that reacts to changes in interstitial fluid, to become mainstream? What happens to this domain if companies lose interest and pull out investment? How does this impact the futures of university research teams dedicated to advancing practical medical wearable technology?

And what about regulatory compliance and industry regulations? Without regulations and guidelines in place, does this harm or help wearable innovators? What happens when regulations are created and enforced? Will this stall development or nudge it forward? Who should be taking responsibility for this critical area of wearable technology growth?

This is just a snapshot of the questions that drive us to continue to push forward with wearable technology. We haven’t even scraped the surface of asking about artificial intelligence and wearable technology or how augmented reality can be integrated into a wearable that then aids in recovery from PTSD or other trauma. Yes, there are lots of questions left.

The good that comes from this debate is the constant innovation that we get to see and experience. Innovation that most of the mainstream media overlooks because it is not yet in consumer format.

Wearable: The Need and The Use
Enough of the questions, let’s look at some of the wearable technology that could make a difference.

  • HDWear: A collaboration between Teva Pharamaceuticals, BioSenics, and Intel could change lives for people with Huntington’s disease. Huntington’s disease is a fatal neurodegenerative disease that results in uncontrollable movements, cognitive degeneration, and behavioral and psychological issues. Typically, these symptoms require in-hospital monitoring and assessment – however, travel for people with Huntington’s disease can be stressful and exhausting. With HDWear, medical experts could remotely monitor patients, removing one of the barriers to care and treatment. The companies are focused on a complete telecare solution that improves observation and assessment of Huntington’s disease, ultimately improving the lives of patients and families living with the disease.
  • Smart Clothing for Premature Babies: This is a 2013 innovation that seems to have lost traction. An estimated 15 million babies are born premature, according to the World Health Organization. “This smart fabric protects the premature child in the very first hours after birth. It stops moisture being expelled from the child’s body before the baby is put into an incubator. The baby has to be examined first and then it is put in an incubator. This is the moment when excessive sweating has to be stopped,” says Ewa Skrzetuska, a researcher on the project. 
  • Dermal Abyss: Using advanced biosensors rather than standard tattoo ink, researchers at MIT and Harvard have collaborated to push the boundaries of medical monitoring. The biosensors measure the glucose levels and PH levels in the wearer’s interstitial fluid. “… It could be used for applications in continuously monitoring such as medical diagnostics, quantified self, and data encoding in the body.” 

This is just a small snapshot that demonstrates the real tangible use and need for wearable technology. No, this is not the wearable technology that we see our friends and colleagues using – rather this is the next level of wearable technology.

To truly be useful and life-changing, wearable technology needs to think beyond everyday consumables and address the problems and challenges that can make a real difference. Disease monitoring, life-saving, real-time communication, and assessment – it’s up to us to take wearables to the next frontier.

This is no longer the stuff of science fiction. Wearable technology is not dead, it just needs to evolve in the right ways. This is what we do. Shaping, twisting, pushing, and bending ideas to find the real use and need – then we’ve got a project that can and will be a game-changer. This is true innovation. This is Radius.

Are You Innovating Enough?

Innovate or die. Pushing the envelope. Doing it first. Thinking outside the box. Define the future and set the trends. Be offensive not defensive. Give your customers what they didn’t know they wanted or needed. Increase your brand loyalty and find new customers in unexpected niches. Be productive, responsive and inclusive. Interact and communicate to move forward. Always remember the customer comes first.

Yes, we want you to be innovating and constantly growing. However, this can’t be done overnight or by waving a magic wand. True innovation that leads to a new feature, product line, or an entire new way of doing a previously ingrained habit means you need to be working with a team of experts.

Look around your office right now, do you see experts in customer experience, human factors, or industry analysis? We’re guessing you answered no, no, and no. This is okay. You need to focus on what you do best and let us focus on developing and realizing your ideas.

Innovation Defined
The next big idea or thing is going to come from a company who has learned that innovation doesn’t happen in a silo. This company has learned that realistic innovation has to come through collaboration and partnership with a broad set of people who possess a deep range of ideas, experience, knowledge and skillsets.

According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, innovation is defined as:

  1. The introduction of something new.
  2. A new idea, method, or device.

This is the level that you always need to be striving for. We want you to take a step back and look at your recent product releases, features, and updates. Now ask yourself these questions about this recent work:

  • What drove that latest feature update? Was it internal or external forces?
  • Are you simply responding to customer demands or creating customer demand?
  • Do you know how you’ll build on your latest release to keep the customer interested?
  • Why are you focusing on updating a long-standing product and not looking at developing something completely new?
  • Was this feature a result of the “we have to stick to our quarterly release schedule” mentality or did you truly offer something new, innovative and exciting?
  • Is this latest update paving the way for future innovation or was it a catch-up to stay with the rest of the market?
  • Are you excited by the work you’ve just done?

These are vital questions that you and your team need to think about when sitting down to discuss product roadmaps and the future of your company. The reality is that there are companies who are already asking themselves these questions and have owned the answers to these questions. To be blunt, they’ve faced reality and recognized that if they don’t change their ways and get back to true innovation, they might just be a forgotten company.

Now, we’re not trying to scare you. Rather, we want to motivate you and get you excited. We want you to be reading, learning, thinking, browsing, exploring and asking yourself what you want to do next.

Innovation Realized. Outcomes Achieved.
When you’re doing this fun stuff – the asking, the thinking, the research, the learning, the testing, the brainstorming, the risk taking – this is when the lightbulb goes off and you discover that nugget of an idea.

This is where we come in. We have the expertise in industry analysis, user interface strategy, human factors, and the ability to take your idea and really see where it goes. We don’t do boring and we don’t do old school. Nope, our team of researchers, designers, analysts, and innovators are with Radius because they want to think outside the box and push the envelope.

You want your toothbrush to give you feedback on how well you’re brushing your teeth? Okay, we can figure this out, come up with some ideas, test these ideas, create prototypes and see if people really want bio-feedback from their toothbrush. (Hint: the answer is yes.)

You have an idea for a product that takes advantage of augmented reality? Cool, let’s sit down and sketch out what this could look like, source materials, create a working prototype and get it in the hands of your target market. Now we can see if we’re too early (sometimes this happens and the market isn’t quite ready for your idea) or if we’re right on time and you’ll be the leader in this domain.

There is no guesswork or hypothesizing going on here. We back up our innovation process with real humans with real skillsets to give you the real innovation you need and deserve. Science, human-centered design, and industry analysis all come together to enable you to stand out from the pack and be a true leader.

Remember those questions we wanted you to ask yourself and your colleagues? Well, we ask ourselves similar questions when we’re looking at ways we can improve the way we work for you. Innovation must be at the core of every business. Think about healthcare, technology, home products, heating/cooling, housing, automotive, bicycles, orthodontics, music, etc. – real innovation is the gift that keeps on giving to you and your customers.

Digital Health & the Impact of Last Week’s FDA Announcements

Last week’s FDA decision and announcement to create a new, streamlined regulatory model for software related technologies, promises to disrupt disease diagnosis and treatment and is exciting as it creates tremendous opportunities for patients and the industry.

The pre-cert for the 9 companies included in the model (see below) is akin to a TSA pre-check at the airport for pre-qualified customers. It will create a digital trial master file framework/model that lays out the processes, standards, quality, system validation, audit trails etc. in advance, such that when these new healthcare product players bring a new software product to market for diagnosis or treatment, a regulatory path has been prepared in advance to streamline approval. About time! Software is a key part of the overall digitization of the health world, and the model will accelerate innovation, help to spur new service delivery models, generally help with outcomes such as improved patient care and ultimately help to save lives or prevent health issues in the first place.

The pilot participants represent a wide range of companies and technology in the digital health sector, including some of the biggest brands in the world as well as exciting new startups, who develop and deliver high and low-risk medical device software products, medical product manufacturers and software developers. The pilot participants that were selected are listed below:

The FDA received interest in the program from more than 100 companies. In selecting the participants, the agency considered several factors including company size, demonstrated record of quality and organizational excellence, clinical focus area and the risk profile of the product. The FDA’s selection process identified companies that represent different perspectives and unique approaches to digital health technology development.

There’s a lot more to it than that, but that’s the 30k foot explanation so if you would like any assistance in navigating this new model, and what it means to your business, our Radius Innovation & Development group, a Jabil company, will leverage our 2 decades+ of deep life sciences, healthcare expertise, human factors expertise, UI/UX design, and software design & development capabilities to partner with you (who are or are not part of the FDA “pre-cert”/pre-check pilot) to ensure your designs and development plans meet patients’ needs and are compliant with the new FDA guidelines.

You may have all the software chops in the world needed to design world-class digital solutions, however, if you need assistance on the Healthcare side, that’s where Radius shines. So don’t hesitate to contact us, this is groundbreaking news and will help you get your innovation to market faster.

Please feel free to contact Mike Susi for more assistance, visit us at radiusinnovation.com, or take a look at our video to help you understand how we help our customers realize their innovation and ultimately achieve outcomes that matter!

Finally, if you are interested an exciting role in the innovation and development world, whether you have research/strategy, design, or an engineering background, check out our careers page to see if there is a role for you!

Healthcare Innovation in Elder Care

If there is one big topic that people want to talk about these days, it’s healthcare. From stories about recent hospital experiences to concerns about healthcare costs and the best ways to manage healthcare – there is a real buzz around our health and the ecosystem designed to protect and support it. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported that the healthcare industry is growing faster and will add more jobs between 2014 and 2024 than any other sector. Healthcare support occupations and healthcare practitioners and technical occupations are projected to be the two fastest growing occupational groups during the projections decade. These groups are projected to contribute the most new jobs, with a combined increase of 2.3 million in employment, representing about 1 in 4 new jobs.

We would also like to discuss healthcare but with a different twist… We see a convergence in the need and opportunity between the growing elderly population and the potential of the IoT to connect equipment and people. Why this topic and why now? There is no denying that our population is aging. In fact, recent statistics show that by 2024, the world population is expected to reach 8 billion people and of this number, 1.2 billion of these people will be elderly. Moreover, we have seen IoT solutions, when applied properly, can gather data and yield meaningful insights to improve care and lower costs.

As an innovator, this situation is both exciting and overwhelming. The opportunities available to use the best-in-class technology and innovation to support this growing elderly population is unprecedented. However, 2024 really isn’t that far away – particularly when it comes to new product development and adoption.

This is exactly why, when our team is talking about healthcare, we’re talking about the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT), which is the latest in technologies and how to get the latest in medical device technology into the hands of those who can really benefit from it.

Healthcare Challenges
Our healthcare infrastructure is stressed and overburdened. During a recent webcast hosted by our parent company, Jabil, and presented by Lorraine Marchand, one particularly interesting slide compared the U.S. and Western Europe healthcare performance by country. The results showed that the most expensive care typically resulted in the lowest level of satisfaction. Hospitals are stressed with the demands of patient care, staffing needs, rising costs, lack of funding, and capacity issues. Combine this with the sad reality that we are a sicker population and the hard reality that change is slow to come to the healthcare industry. More people are working harder and at a higher cost, to deliver mediocre care.

The existing infrastructure – regulation, payer models, care system – make a wholesale change unrealistic. While it would be ideal to rebuild the system, this simply is not realistic. That slow pace of change doesn’t allow for wholesale redesign or updating. Rather, what is needed is realistic vision for improvement, and the implementation of a series of discrete, but highly impactful steps forward that enables better patient care, better management of staff workloads, and encourages better use of existing resources.

Enter IoMT – the opportunities this new domain of connected devices, cloud technology, and medical devices are powerful. Exciting – yes. Overwhelming – yes. Necessary – yes.

So, where to get started?

IoMT for Better Elder Care
We appreciate that opportunity is packaged with challenge and risk. The good news is that by working together, we can give you the tools and knowledge to focus on your idea and to really harness the opportunity – while we do the work to minimize challenges and risk that come with innovation and opportunity. Our focus is on bridging the gap between insight through to commercialization, minimizing risk, maximizing rewards – ultimately getting your idea into the hands of those who need and want it.

This brings us back to your big opportunity: improving elder care with IoMT. Here’s our quick brainstorm of ideas on how we see IoMT affecting healthcare for the better – making it easier for the entire infrastructure to support the increasing demands of our growing and aging population.

  • Ease of monitoring. Many elderly people are managing conditions that require constant monitoring, involving conditions, caregivers, and medication regimes. This places a great deal of stress on these patients, often making it harder to control and manage conditions such as heart disease, COPD, diabetes, and stroke side effects. Real-time and simple monitoring and appropriate analytics of key factors such as heart rate activity and glucose levels allows doctors and patients to be directly connected to insights that inform improvements in care rather than more and more raw data – easing the burden on patients to remember to self-monitor and ensuring these patients are being monitored with minimal disruption.
  • Medical compliance. Compliance costs are between $100B and $300B each year. The reasons are diverse and need to be monitored and managed differently. This is especially true for elderly patients. Smart apps and product design can work to ensure that patients are gently reminded to take their daily medication and to send alerts to both the patients and the healthcare practitioners when dosages are missed. However, smart solutions that to not require smart phones are also available and effective.
  • Maintaining independence. Not only are hospitals overburdened but so too are nursing homes and residences. Factor in that most elderly people want to continue living in their own homes – and there is opportunity to take advantage of virtual monitoring and robot technology. Using simple-to-use apps and touchscreen technology, seniors can easily connect to family, friends, and healthcare providers – all of whom can help support these seniors while ensuring that they are living well and safely. This also serves to help manage the cost of care by keeping patients at home longer rather than in dedicated healthcare facilities.
  • Daily quality of life. For many seniors, it’s the things we take for granted that become frustrating – hearing well, seeing properly, and hand dexterity. Inserting cumbersome hearing aids or trying to manipulate a modern smartphone with small buttons and a slippery surface can be a challenge. Smart technology that creates an environment tailored for our aging population, such as connecting a hearing aid to items in the home such as the volume control on the television or radio or connects to a smartphone or tablet when a call is received, can take the stress of managing the simple tasks of life.

This is just a snapshot of how we can take the best in IoMT and use it to really make a difference in the lives of real people.

It is really about making a difference – improving the lives of seniors and their families and easing the burden on the healthcare system, while also managing the cost of care. We’re excited about these possibilities and like you, we want to see them come to fruition. Our team of experts will take your idea from paper to reality – giving you the power to make a difference. Remember, now is the time to get started – contact us and let’s talk IoMT and changing lives.

Smart Homes Lead the Way

Way back in 1975, technology was developed that paved the way for how so many of us are living and interacting with our homes. Developed by Pico Electronics, X10 was the first protocol that supported electronic device communication to enable home automation.

What strikes us is that 42 years ago, a company of innovative thinkers saw an opportunity and forged ahead to provide a solution that is still being used today. This speaks to the power of human-centered design and in knowing how to take advantage of the best in technology to meet the needs of today’s consumers.

Taking Advantage of Smart Home Automation
Like every innovation, it only makes sense if it solves a need or problem. This is what makes smart home automation so exciting, and essentially limitless. The Internet of Things (IoT) has gifted us the ability to always stay connected and in control.

It is in our homes that this connection and control is becoming ubiquitous and now the standard in new home design. Smart home automation is a prime example of how an idea translated into an opportunity which then converted into research of how to harness the latest in technology to meet the needs of today’s consumers.

Yes, the smart home automation of today (and the future) is emblematic of how Radius experts and leaders think about using the best-in-class of ideas, research, analysis, human-centered design, and technology to give us what we need to make our lives better. Discovery and design – brought together for true innovation.

Here are some of our favorite ways to use smart home automation to make your life (and your dog’s life) better at home and away from home.

  • Open and Close Doors: If saying “open sesame” to open your garage door, front door, or any other door in your home gets you excited – well the good news is you can do it. Remotely control the doors in your home with voice commands or a swipe/tap of an app on your smartphone or tablet.
  • Home Security: Have you ever said to your partner “I wonder what the dog is doing right now?” Well, wonder no more. With the smart application of interior cameras and outdoor monitoring systems, you can know what your dog is doing and monitor your home from wherever you are. For example, while on vacation, get alerts when your dog sitter comes in or the paper is dropped off on your front step or when an unwanted guest attempts to break-in.
  • Stay Healthy: You know how interested we are in medical device technology and the IoT, and now with great innovation in smart home automation, we’re seeing ways we can be fully in connected with our health and wellness. Step on your scale and have an update sent to your fridge to adjust your daily meal plan. Feel-at-ease when you’re not able to visit an elderly family member, with robot technology that can monitor and communicate with both you and your family member.
  • Never Be in the Dark: Coming home to a dark house late at night or turning lights on/off on a schedule when you’re away or using motion detectors to turn on night lights – the options are limitless when it comes to lighting. Smart bulbs that change color, lighting systems that react to your motion allowing for hands-free light control, or emergency lighting systems connected to your smart home security system can all make your life safer and more convenient.
  • Cooking, Cleaning, and Mowing: Control your sous-vide cooker, electric smoker, or oven from your office so that your food is cooked and ready for you when you get home. Unexpected company, no problem with smart vacuums, mops, and lawn mowers who are working for you when you can’t (or don’t want to).
  • Too Hot or Too Cold: Perhaps one of the most popular uses of smart home automation is the control over our heating and cooling systems. A range of systems are available to make sure your home is cooled and heated however you want from wherever you are.

We want to hear from you – tell us on the Radius Facebook page what you’d like to see in smart home automation or about your favorite use of this technology.

Smart Home Communication Options
While X10 remains in-use today, we’re now seeing a new wave of home automation and communication technology in 2017. By taking advantage of the knowledge, technology, and consumer need – we’re see innovative thinking coming to life.

  • X10: pioneer in smart home communication. Started as being hard-wired – is now wireless. X10 systems can be complicated to install when compared to newer wireless compatible devices.
  • UPB: Universal Powerline Bus is powerline only and as a result is expensive and not used in new devices.
  • Insteon: developed to connect powerline-based and wireless communication protocols. Compatible with X10 and newer wireless devices.
  • Z-Wave: home automation protocol that runs on 908.42MHz. Uses the mesh network to relay messages from one Z-Wave device to another. This low power dependent technology is ideal for devices that rely on battery power.
  • Zigbee: an 802 wireless communication standard. Uses the mesh network to communicate and is used in many devices.
  • Wi-Fi: the most ubiquitous communication network that supports a range of home automation devices. Can be challenging to secure bandwidth though in a house with multiple Wi-Fi devices.
  • BLE: Bluetooth Low Energy is used in a range of devices but is not the primary protocol for home automation devices. Has a limited range and is not ideal for tools/devices that need to be connected at all times.

Generally, if you’re new to smart home automation, it’s best to choose either Z-Wave or Zigbee since there is a wide range of devices that can support your home automation needs. If your home is using X10, then it’s worth transitioning to Insteon, which allows you to use wireless smart home automation.

Smart Innovation for Better Living
The smart innovators are those who are taking advantage of the best in research, design, discovery, prototyping, and critical thinking. The opportunities that can and will work are those that have been studied, debated, discussed, and reviewed from all angles – this is smart innovation.

In knowing how you can take your idea, turn it into a feasible opportunity that meets the needs of consumers – while ensuring a cost-effective and viable business, you can be part of the next wave of smart innovation.

Discover your true potential with the Radius team of experts working for you to eliminate barriers to success – keeping you on top. I’m looking forward to posting a series of blogs on this topic, coming soon!

How the Internet of Things (IoT) is Advancing Healthcare

Individuals are more connected to and are taking ownership of their daily health.

Healthcare is a hot topic for everyone these days. Individuals are more connected to and are taking ownership of their daily health with devices such as Fitbits, home blood pressure monitoring devices, and smart watches. In the healthcare sector, manufacturers are becoming fully invested in the Internet of Things (IoT) and what it means for medical equipment, including connectivity, communication, monitoring, and data collection. Researchers are leveraging the ability to collect and aggregate more data to uncover deeper insights into health needs to unlock more meaningful solutions… digging into how they can use the cloud and integrated technologies to provide education opportunities, lead remote training, and quickly share and communicate key data with another. Insurance companies are trying to learn how they can use the data provided by personal devices and that from medical equipment to better deliver customized health insurance, and in some cases, to drive behavior.

This all adds up to huge opportunity for change, growth, advancement, and success. The key though is to remember that IoT is a vehicle, but the success comes from understanding how to implement IoT to create value for the user, HCPs, insurers, etc. A deep understanding of this value helps cut through the sea of what can be done, and uncovers what should be done; to use the best of IoT to advance healthcare technologies and communication. Success starts with uncovering opportunities to generate value and finishes with mastering and leveraging the right technology solution to deliver the value. To do this properly, it’s necessary to take a step back and really understand what the opportunities IoT offers you and how you can translate this into real innovation.

Harnessing the IoT
The real conundrum lies in how to best harness the IoT for your distinct opportunity. The industry is buzzing about the IoT but we need to really understand what the possibilities are for each company. Naturally, IoT is not the best solution for some opportunities, whether due to the particular stakeholder need, cost drivers, or simply due to the state of technology itself.

Knowing when and how to take advantage of the latest technology and then knowing how to develop this technology to meet your unique needs is what we do. We are experts in innovation, on uncovering opportunities and capitalizing on them, and in making sure that your unique opportunity is realized to its full potential. Part of our uniqueness is in the multidisciplinary approach with folks advocating for the user, with experts in understanding technology possibilities, and with experience in commercializing solutions. This can’t be done with a few spreadsheets and brainstorming sessions, instead we take an iterative and connected approach to fully understanding, researching, testing, and prototyping your ideas and opportunity.

  • Do you know what struggles your customers face?
  • Do you understand their world and the broader set of technology and business solutions available? What technologies are working and not working?
  • Do customers want what you’re offering? Who are your customers and what are they currently using
  • What are the latest in FDA standards and ISO regulations?
  • Do you understand the real cost-resource-company benefit of your idea? Is the expense of production going to smother your revenue?

Yes, there is a rush to market and being the first to offer the latest connected solution but it’s vital that you’re coming to market with the right solution. We want to bring our experts to work with yours so that, together, we can fully realize the potential that IoT offers you and your market.

Personal health monitoring adds up to improved peace-of-mind, decreased healthcare costs, better care, and more informed doctors, healthcare providers and patients.

Doing More the Best Way Possible
Knowing what the best opportunities are and how to use these the best way possible that will result in success for you and real benefit your customers.

Within the healthcare space, there are a number of areas of convergence where IoT is making significant impacts and where Radius is being called upon to assist.

  1. Home and personal monitoring. Think smart watches that monitor blood pressure, heart rate, and provide alerts to remind people to drink, move, and sleep. With an older demographic, we’re seeing a need for connected and smart alerts to remind people to take their medication, to alert doctors when there has been a missed dose, and personal in-home safety tools such as video monitoring, emergency call buttons through-out the home, and monitoring solutions for dementia patients. When done correctly this all adds up to improved peace-of-mind, decreased healthcare costs, better care, and more informed doctors, healthcare providers and patients.
  2. Remote healthcare. Telemedicine has been hovering in the background for a while now and with the real advances in connectivity, cloud technology, and communication, we’re now able to realize this opportunity. From providing better healthcare to rural communities to offering specialist services to smaller hospitals to providing live training and education to students/doctors/nurses in environments that lack access to experts – remote healthcare is ready to break-through.
  3. Medical device technology. This is the realm that seems to bog down the healthcare system, the delay in getting results to the patients, consulting specialists, insurance companies, and other healthcare providers. Now with the IoT we’re seeing the ability to quickly and seamlessly communicate vital test results, scans, and data, eliminating the two-week wait for results and stress on behalf of the patient. Real-time outcomes of blood analysis while the patient waits or the instant display of an MRI to a specialist in another hospital or instant access to health data for a patient who is being transferred via ambulance.

A Front Seat
Radius is privileged to consult with many clients as they explore and harness the power of IoT within their new product ideas and evolving business and service models. From the latest in wearable technology and oral care, to sophisticated remote monitoring, auto-alert , diagnostic and drug delivery devices, we are witnessing first hand. – The IoT is advancing healthcare – making life better and healthier for everyone involved.

How can we help you?