Category Archives: Insights

Benefits of Low Volume Build and Manufacturing

Speed matters. Quality matters. Cost matters. Risk matters. But how do you tick all of these boxes while still delivering on what your customers really want? Your customers are demanding new products at a pace which is getting hard to manage. Your manufacturing costs are increasing and it’s getting more challenging to maintain quality control. In fact, there are times when you’re not even convinced that what you’re manufacturing is what your customers really want.

It really feels as though you’re in a race that has no finish line. So what are you supposed to do? Well, how about shifting your mindset from the traditional domain of high volume manufacturing to low volume manufacturing. Yes, traditionally high volume manufacturing was the most economical choice, but how well does it deliver on speed, risk management, and quality control. High volume manufacturing forces you to make a lot of trade-off for the sake of cost.

This is why we want you to think about and move forward with low volume manufacturing. Thanks to the boom in digital technology, low volume manufacturing truly is an option for every enterprise, regardless of production numbers and timelines. Low volume manufacturing is all about diminishing risk, driving speed to market, and ensuring top quality. So what’s holding you back?

Think about how rewarding it would be for you and your customers to deliver exactly what they want, when they want it – all at a cost that is affordable for everyone. This is what low volume manufacturing with the right partner can give you.

Save Your Money and Your Innovation Pipeline
We get it, your margins are tight, particularly when it comes to keeping up with the pace-of-change in the market. You’re trying to manage resource costs while delivering a product on-time and with a price point that works for you and your customers. This isn’t easy. So we understand that rethinking your manufacturing processes and methodology can be a scary prospect.

This is exactly why want to you take advantage of low volume manufacturing. There is real opportunity for cost savings by utilizing Radius experts to take over the hard work of getting  innovation prototypes into production, while keeping innovation team talents and resources on more development, engineering, or pipeline for future products.

The key to understanding how and why low volume manufacturing can be your game-changer is in realizing that more is not necessarily better. We’ve been taught that our margins drop with higher numbers. But what about the cost and loss that comes when you discover that your 500,000 order is wrong – the color is off, the materials are faulty, and it was delivered too late. Now, you’re stuck with 500,000 pieces of product that no one wants (not even you).

Reframe this with a low volume manufacturing mindset. Perhaps you’re creating a new product line or adding a new feature to an existing product, and you’re not sure how well received it will be. With low volume manufacturing you can manufacture a small number of pieces and use these to validate your design, your materials, and your industry analysis. All at a much lower overhead cost in manufacturing and in wasted product.

Maintain Design Freedom
It’s not easy to innovate and change your design or materials. This all comes down to how your products are manufactured. Likely in the early days of your company and product line, you worked with an expensive manufacturer who created a set of molds for your products – and these are the molds you’re still using today. This manufacturing legacy is holding you back.

Think of how much change we’ve experienced in just the past five years in digital technology. 3D printers, the cloud, IoT, and industry 4.0 have opened up so many doors for how you think about, design, prototype, produce, and manufacture. Gone are the rigid inflexible molds – replaced with design, production, and manufacturing flexibility.

With rapid prototyping and 3D printing you can make changes on-the-fly, better respond to customer feedback, quickly adjust for new materials, and fix design flaw before they become endemic. This all comes down to giving you less waste, better products, smarter design, and greater efficiencies.

Get to Market Faster
Quick, check the calendar – how much time have you allotted for idea to design to manufacture to market? We’re assuming six to 12 months. A lifetime for a company, brand, and product line. You cannot afford to wait 12 months to find out if your customers want the product you’re waiting on.

You need to get to market first. Not only do you need to be first, you need to deliver a quality product at a market-correct price. This is not going to happen with your high volume manufacturing limiters. A move to low volume manufacturing allows you to manufacture a smaller quality of products much much faster.

Not only do you beat your competitors to market but you do it at reduced costs with a better product – and much less risk. Your customers are happier, they have the product they want when they want it. In fact, you now have the capability to respond to the latest trends and fads in your industry – your brand benefits and you don’t have shelves packed with outdated expensive product that no one wants.

Make the Leap from Prototype Faster and Better
One of the biggest challenges in any industry is in knowing what is going to catch-on. You can do all the industry analysis and surveys you want and still come up short. Remember, this is part of what we do (human factors and industry analysis), and we understand how fickle your customers and potential customers can be. All it takes is one viral social media post or review, and the next-greatest thing quickly becomes yesterday’s news.

This is why we want you to take advantage of low volume manufacturing. Get your product in front of your potential customers, get feedback, get design analysis, and find out if it meets the industry standards. Once you’ve validated your prototype, you can then quickly make the leap to full-blown product. You’ve got the speed, the design capabilities, and manufacturing strength to quickly meet the demands of your customers. Gone are the days of waiting and waiting to see your prototype move forward.

Bridging Your Gaps
We know what you’re thinking – great, but how I am I supposed to make this transition from high volume to low volume manufacturing? We know how challenging it is to get access to Tier 1 manufacturing capabilities and experience. We also don’t want you to be forced to work with Tier 2 and 3 manufacturers.

This is where Radius comes in. We have the suite of capabilities, experience, manufacturing resources, and knowledge to allow you to bridge your gaps. You focus on doing what you do best and we work with you to manufacture the best possible product faster and better.

We give the access to Tier 1 capabilities at a fraction of the cost and headache. Know that you’re working with a team that allows you to realize your products at the right pace and scale to succeed in the market. In fact, we’ll be with you every step of the process, making you wonder why you waited so long to switch from high volume to low volume manufacturing.

What Does Your Packaging Say About Your Brand?

Successful innovation isn’t easy, in fact, it can be downright challenging. When it comes to consumer packaging, we know that the failure rate for packaging innovation is in the 75-80% range. Yikes, one look at these numbers is enough to make anyone risk-averse.

However, it’s important to remember the value innovative packaging brings to your brand and company. When done right, innovative packaging can extend the product lifecycle of existing brands, increases the success rate for new products, and elevates your brand to a new level with consumers.

But as you know, this doesn’t happen with a simple logo change or adding some flashy new colors to your packaging. It takes knowing your consumers, knowing your market, knowing your brand, and knowing the best ways to use your packaging.

Ultimately, you need the confidence that your packaging is communicating the right message about your brand at the right time to the right people. You can’t control who sees your packaging or how they see it – but you can control the first impression your packaging delivers. We want you to remember that for many of your consumers, your packaging is often the only exposure they’ve had to your brand, company, and product.

Think of the package as the one piece of marketing that you know your consumers will see. There are no guarantees that your consumers see your social media marketing, visit your website, or are seeing your other marketing campaigns. Regardless of how your consumers see your product – online or brick-and-mortar – the package is the one constant. So you need to make sure it is doing what you need it to do.

More Than A Colorful Cardboard Box: Looking at Packaging Roles
You need to think of your packaging as a marketing tool. In fact, smart companies design packaging that supports the marketing messaging and harmonizes well with marketing campaigns. By using an ideal blend of graphics and text, the package needs to tell the consumer what the product is, what it does, and how it makes their life better. This is a big ask when you consider that on average, consumers spend five seconds looking at your packaging. Your goal is to design packaging that gets consumers to stop, pick-up the package, read the package, and to start thinking about how your product and brand fits with their lifestyle.

Good innovative packaging has the capability to take on key marketing and brand-building roles for your product, brand, and company:

  • Consumer outreach. Your packaging needs to connect with consumers and establish a relationship. Your existing consumers look for your colors, messaging, and package shape – this is what stands out on the shelf. Change your package too much without knowing what connects your consumers to your packaging, and you risk losing established consumers. Also, the right package design can help you find a new demographic, for example with using colors that stand out from the rest of the market or that convey a message that connects, such as sustainability and environmental awareness.
  • Brand positioning. Your packaging is the final link in your marketing campaign. For companies who are rebranding or repositioning their product line, the packaging must tie-in to the marketing messaging. For example, if you’re rebranding your line of shampoo to be upscale, you need to think carefully about what upscale means visually to consumers.
  • Sales tool. Ultimately, your packaging is a very powerful sales tool. The packaging must establish a fine-balance of visuals and text that convinces consumers to click or pick-up your product and put it in their cart. You need to know what it is your consumers want from your product and then design packaging that meets these needs. While everyone know we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover – this is exactly what happens with your packaging – it’s all about first (and lasting) impressions.
  • Emotional connection. We are drawn to packaging that makes us feel and respond. There is comfort for example in finding a favorite brand when traveling or when feeling out-of-sorts. The right packaging can provide comfort, connection, familiarity, and consistency. However, it’s important to acknowledge that depending on your product and brand – this might not be your goal. For example, perhaps your product is a building/educational toy for young children that you market to parents – your packaging needs to explain how your toy works, how it teaches, how it is fun, and how simple it is to use. Whether it’s an emotional connection or and educational tool, ultimately you need to know what your consumers desire from your packaging.
  • Tells your story. Your packaging is your chance to tell consumers who you are and what you’re all about. For example, if your company is invested in sustainability, your packaging must communicate this with its design – you want your consumers to know that your packaging is recyclable, that you care about the planet, and let them quickly see the simplicity in your packaging. Or maybe your brand is all about being cutting-edge, then you want to make sure you’re using the latest in packaging innovations and design (think of Apple packaging here).

It’s more than a cardboard box or plastic sleeve – it’s your brand, your company, your reputation.

The fight for consumer awareness and acceptance is tight and your packaging is the game-changer for your brand and company. Don’t overlook your packaging and assume that your consumers don’t care about packaging or have been exposed to your marketing campaigns.

There is only guarantee when it comes to branding and building product awareness – the packaging ultimately makes the first and last impression – so make it count.

Innovative Packaging Done Right
Consumers make their decisions quickly– so make sure your packaging resonates for the right reasons.

User acceptance testing, human factors, industry analysis, prototyping, technology exploration, industrial design, conceptual engineering, and supply chain management – all make a difference when it comes to delivering innovative packaging that delivers on your brand values and reputation.

The details matter. There are no second chances. We want you to get it right the first time. Contact us to learn more about our Packaging Innovation Sprint – stand out on the shelves and in the minds of consumers for the right reasons.

The Connected Home is Here – Are You Ready?

“The vision of the connected home is finally beginning to come together.”

 

“Many consumers still do not understand connected device value propositions and early adopters face significant pain points that have yet to be addressed.”

 

“Connected devices are disrupting every nook of the home.”

 

“Despite the proliferation of devices, we’re still far from the vision of seamlessly connected homes.”

 

“Nearly half of the individuals in the connected-home market also own a wearable.”

This connected home food-for-thought comes from a recent McKinsey report titled, There’s No Place Like A Connected Home. In its 2017 report McKinsey surveyed over 3,000 homeowners asking them about their perspectives on connected and smart homes.

While those of us involved in cutting-edge technology and in envisioning the future are deeply immersed in connected homes, the reality is that the the technology is still not quite ready for mass adoption and use. We know the technology is here and that connected devices are a rapidly growing market. While some connected home devices have a well proved value proposition (like thermostats for instance) others are still struggling to find the reason someone would purchase and install the connected product in their home (think Juicero, the infamous connected juicer).

The majority of homeowners select connected devices based on the problem the device will solve for them. This makes the one-time purchase of a connected thermostat or smart lock very appealing – small learning curve, easy installation, simple configuration, and zero maintenance. The reward is immediate, leading homeowners to purchase more connected devices. This is where the lack of a coherent ecosystem that is easy to use and install comes in: without this, creating an entire connected home is frustrating and out of many consumer’s reach. After installing multiple stand-alone devices and their related sea of apps, the value proposition grows weaker.

Let’s talk about the first barrier: creating connected home products that provide a value to consumers that offsets the cost and complexity of connecting it.  There are some great product categories that have figured this out.  By looking at the products that have provided value, we can understand how new product categories might as well.

Home Security and Safety
It’s no surprise that home security is one of the largest growing domains in connected homes. Everyone has a desire to feel safe and secure in their own home. Our home is where we’re able to relax, be ourselves, and simply just be. Knowing that our home is secure when we’re sleeping, at the office, working out in the basement, or traveling is integral to our peace-of-mind.

From do-it-yourself home security systems to discreet cameras to smart doorbells, home security is a rapidly growing segment in connected homes.

In addition to home security, the idea of safeguarding our home, even when we can’t be there, is one that resonates with many consumers. Our home is typically our biggest investment, and many have a little worry that something will go wrong when we can’t be home, especially for longer periods of time like a vacation. Connected technology that monitors and informs us about carbon dioxide levels, water leaks, or  fire, eases that little worry that things are ok. Carry this one step further to the problems many homeowners suffer after a natural disaster – leaking pipes, fires, etc. – smart detectors can ease worry and benefit everyone from home owners to insurance companies to first responders.

Voice Controls
Speak up and speak clearly and presto, your front door is unlocked or your pressure cooker automatically turns on. Yes, voice control is here and it’s changing the way we’re living and talking in our homes. For early adopters, voice controls are the epitome of cool – giving them the latest in connected home technology. For seniors or people living with disabilities, voice controls gives them both freedom and security.

If there is one domain in which we’re excited to see what happens next, it’s with voice controls. Admittedly, voice assistants and control are nothing new, it’s only now that we’re realizing the power of “Open Sesame!”.

More and more technology companies are looking for ways to take advantage of the voice control powered by Google and Amazon. We’re seeing software and apps that power voice-controlled speakers, refrigerators that can send a voice-dictated grocery list to the grocery store (virtual or real), front door locks and garage doors that open on voice command, and light switches that respond to voice commands are just a few real-world examples.

The opportunities for voice control and better, safer, smarter connected homes is unprecedented. Imagine setting controls on your stove that make it impossible for your child to turn on the stove or to enable child-safety locks on your drawers and the door to the basement steps or to dispense food to your cat when you’re out-of-town overnight.

Top Trends in Connected Homes
Now, obviously we only touched on three of the most established types of smart and connected home technology – it would take a very long blog post to highlight all the areas in which we see opportunity. To keep you thinking and innovating, here are some of the latest connected home trends we saw at CES:

  • Samsung Family Hub fridge. This fridge functions as the smart home hub, enabling you to take advantage of Samsung’s SmartThings ecosystem.
  • Kohler Konnect. Includes a voice-controlled shower that remembers your temperature/pressure presets, a toilet that has foot warmers, a bath that fills itself, a mirror that is also an Alexa speaker, and more.
  • Homey smart home hub. This is the hub people are waiting for – control it with Google Assistant, Alexa, and Facebook and bring over 20,000 unique smart home devices together into one interface.

The common thread between these three applications: easier, safer, and more secure living. Know that the temperature in the tub won’t be too hot for your child or that your elderly parents can easily control their lights and door lock with one hub – this is the magic in connected home technology.

Connected Home Barriers
McKinsey highlighted key industry pain points that must be conquered in order for connected homes to become adopted by the mass market. Understanding these pain points and finding ways for connected technology and product features to solve them is how new and innovative products will become the next market successes:

  • Hardware manufacturers/consumer electronics. Need to create distinctive features to increase margins. Building brand loyalty in an immature market.
  • Telecom/cable providers. Connected homes are in direct competition with existing high margin products.
  • Retailers. Equipping the sales force with deep knowledge of connected homes. Ability to easily explain connected home benefits.
  • Software/ecosystem players. Monetization of data collection in the ecosystem. Where to best get invested in connected home technology.
  • Service providers. Utility and home security companies need to learn how to capitalize on connected home technology. Educating the sales team on connected home technology devices and benefits.

Contact us and we’ll discuss how to solve the barriers that are preventing consumers from benefitting from your connected home technology. This is the Radius effect in action. Innovation Realized. Outcomes Achieved. Together we can make all homes safer, more secure, more comfortable for us, and ease our worries.

Taking Our Healthcare to the Next Level with 3D Printing

The costs of healthcare are only increasing, this is an unavoidable reality. We’ve got more people, more illness, and a larger drain on the healthcare infrastructure. The fact is the global healthcare infrastructure is overwhelmed, overworked, underfunded, and suffering.

However, there is lots of good happening in healthcare. The pressures placed on the supply and demand of healthcare services combined with the out-of-the-box thinkers that are looking for new ways to help people have resulted in some amazing technological advancements.

Enter 3D printing. This innovative technology has revolutionized the production and delivery of pretty much any type of object. With more and more people understanding how 3D printing can be manipulated and used, we’re seeing a move to true innovation daily. A quick Google search of 3D printing, for example, reveals how ubiquitous this technology has become.

One area where we’re seeing tremendous advancements is in that of healthcare. The ease-of-access of 3D printers, the growing understanding of what can be 3D printed, and the need for better tools, simulators, and solutions – are a huge plus for the healthcare sector.  Despite its ubiquity, mastery of the material possibilities and the process can unlock new ways to deliver solutions. We have not tapped the potential of 3D printing to disrupt the way we deliver healthcare solutions.

3D Printing Our Health
This is not an exaggeration – today, our health can literally be 3D printed. From cells and structures with 3D bioprinting, to accessible and low-cost prosthetic limbs for children and adults, to organs that look and feel like the real thing, to affordable medical equipment – the options are limitless.

As you know, Radius is a human-centered design firm with a team of experts who are committed to seeing your ideas become a reality. At the core of this is in providing products, solutions, and innovations that make life better and easier for everyone.

This makes us extremely excited about 3D printing and what it means for solving the problems faced by the healthcare sector. There is incredible opportunity to use this technology to really contribute to solving the problems plaguing the worldwide healthcare sector. Everyone from newborn babies to medical students to researchers to management to those dealing with critical illness – all benefit from this innovation.

Because we’re so excited about how 3D printing is changing our health, we want to highlight some of the innovations that are true game changers in healthcare. Of course, we want to hear from you! Let us know on our Facebook page what you think are the most innovative applications of 3D printing in healthcare.

  • Tumor models. 3D printed tumor models allow surgeons to better understand complex cases and create a surgical plan that can minimize risk and decrease the surgical time. Additionally, these tumor models allow researchers to understand how tumors develop, grow, and respond to anti-cancer medication.
  • Body modeling. With complicated surgeries, such as those involving the brain, skull, or spine, surgeons need as much data and images possible to plan and execute a potentially life-saving operation. 3D printing of any part of our bodies – face, skin, skull, bones, or limbs allows surgeons to test their approach before the actual surgery. As Dr. John Meera of Boston Children’s Hospital said in a recent article about the 3D printing of a brain and cranium before surgery on a four-month old baby, “When you print out this model, it’s an amazing opportunity for me to actually look at the anatomy and look at the skull from different angles and actually have it in my hand and spin it around. It’s very critical in these kinds of cases. They’re rare, and each one is a little different, so you have to make a treatment plan just for these patients.” (vice.com)
  • Organ modeling. For medical students, researchers, and scientists, being able to hold and feel an organ aids in all levels of learning and advancement. For medical students and surgeons, holding an organ that responds like a live organ, gives them the chance to experience what they will face during surgery. This understanding can lead to new less-invasive surgical approaches, improved surgical technique, and a realistic learning environment.
  • Medical equipment. Particularly in surgeries in babies and children, often the equipment used can be too big and awkward for these small bodies. Now, with easier access to 3D printers, medical device providers and even surgeons can custom print medical equipment on a case-by-case basis. Smaller, more flexible, and innovative medical equipment can be easily produced, tested, and used in live settings with minimal time-to-market.
  • Prosthetic limbs. Prosthetic limbs are expensive and take a long time to produce. Often, in the case of children, by the time the new hand is delivered, the child has outgrown the prosthetic limb. With 3D printing, not only is the time in which it takes to deliver this limb greatly reduced, so is the cost. To address these barriers, several not-for-profit groups have been created to focus solely in getting limbs to those who need them most. Many of these groups provide free tutorials, templates, and other resources to enable anyone with a need to print a prosthetic limb.

This brief snapshot of how 3D printing is and can change the state of healthcare is nothing short of revolutionary. Imagine what will be happening next year, in five years, and 10 years from now.

Be A Game Changer

It’s all about making a difference and seeing your idea come to reality. To do this properly and with maximum impact you need the support and expertise of the Radius team. From our human factors experts to expertise in medical devices and healthcare to our Low Volume Build solution – we have the knowledge, skills, and commitment to see your idea realized.

Be part of the good that is happening in healthcare and be a game changer – we’ll get your idea in the hands of those who can benefit from it the most. See your ideas transform into real outcomes that make a real difference. Innovation Realized. Outcomes Achieved.

The Right Approach for the Right Reasons

Flashback a few years ago and think of the conversations you had with your colleagues and friends. How often did the topic of algorithms come up? We’re hedging not that frequently (unless of course you’re a math professor or parent of a teenager). Now, think of how often the word algorithm sneaks into your conversations.

As we talk about what is showing up in our Facebook newsfeed or are determining the best route to get from point A to B – algorithms are hovering in the background. As we know algorithms and big data are changing the way we work, live, and think. In fact, let’s be honest, the very idea for this blog post came from some convincing algorithms that served up some content in various newsfeeds, search results, and email newsletters.

The algorithms just seem to know. Or do they? When it comes to human experiences, design, innovations, and helping the user – algorithms are making an impact. What we want to know and caution is in the use of these all-knowing algorithms for the right reasons.

It’s super easy to get caught up in the latest buzz words and technologies – Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and algorithms in particular. The problems with the latest buzz in making sure that it doesn’t overpower what it is we’re really trying to do – make real innovation with positive outcomes.

This brings us to our question: how do we work with the benefits of these technologies while keeping the focus on the user and realizing your ideas in the best way possible. Not in taking advantage of every piece of technology and crowding the innovation to the point where the focus and goal is lost. The focus is on the meaning of success – delivering your customers their ideal experience.

Why Are Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Algorithms Different?
The Internet, mobile, HTML, 3D printing, and smart packaging are real life-changers – and yes we understand that some of these are life-changers in thanks to the power of the AI, machine learning, and algorithms. However, we want to think and talk about what the application of technology inherently does or doesn’t do.

Whereas the Internet has allowed us to connect with you, deliver better ways to do our work, to open lines of communication, and helped us learn about the stranger on the other side of the World – the algorithms and the learning they power doesn’t inherently do this. No, our AI-powered tools, ideas, and visions are only as effective as we want them to be or not to be.

While we’re excited about what data, algorithms, and AI can do for us, it’s important to know why you (or we) have gone done this route. Is this making the product or service better? Does it matter to the user if it’s AI-powered? What are the implications of the AI power? Did it help us realize the best innovation of your idea? Is it technology for the sake of technology?

This brings us full-circle to the principles of UX/UI and keeping the focus human. Knowing what your customers are really looking for and how you can best deliver this to them.  Making sure the focus on solving the problems in the best way possible – keeping the focus on the users – not solely on the technology. There is a deep connection between design and success, and it’s vital that this is not misplaced.

Human-Focused Design to Improve AI
We don’t want you to get the wrong idea – we are as excited about data, algorithms, AI, and ML as anyone else. However, we want to always know why we’re making the decisions we are. Did we decide on the design because it allowed us to use that cool widget or did we choose the design because our human factors experts told us that this is what people want?

AI and its cousins can and are working in UX – it’s in taking this measured approach that allows you to still keep the focus on realizing the idea in the best way possible. In fact, maybe the smarter approach is in flipping the focus – instead of putting AI into the user design but instead using human-focused design to improve AI.

  • Remembering the humans. When thinking about how you can realize your idea – don’t lose sight of the humans you’re working for. Think of how your design, use of materials, and communication methods can deliver the best possible outcome. For example, a hearable that is easy-to-use, is comfortable, and gives exercise cues or monitors heart rate. Don’t focus on the data for the sake of the design. If the hearable is hard to get in the ear, it doesn’t matter how smart it is.
  • Helping not doing. Remember, people want to know and feel like they’re in charge. We all want control on what we see, hear, and read. The emergence and understanding of how AI has changed this, makes it crucial that people still have the decision-making power. We want to have the opportunity to scroll through streaming services and find what appeals to us at that moment – when AI takes over, our options are limited and we feel forced into making choices – eventually getting frustrated with limited options.
  • Relationship building. People return to the products and services that they trust and believe in. Yes, that old scale in the bathroom might not be using the latest technology, but when I stand on it – it tells me how much I weigh. This is what I want to know. I trust it to do its job. We know people grow attachments to products because they feel comfortable with them – developing a real connection with the material.

It’s an exciting time to be an innovator. The opportunities to make and realize outcomes is huge. It’s in doing this the best way that creates the real possibilities. Yes, some might say this is idealistic – but we’re in this for the long-term and want to see lasting innovation.

Putting Ecommerce Packaging to Work

Your ecommerce packaging matters. Think of the last product you purchased online – when it arrived, were your thoughts similar to: “what is with all this packaging?”, “this package is impossible to open”, “where are the instructions?”, “this is clumsy and ugly. I hope I made the right decision”, or ”was the product damaged?”

You have the power to change these first impressions. This is what innovative smart ecommerce packaging can and should be doing. It’s a crowded ecommerce marketplace and you need more than a slick website and mobile apps to stand out. You need packaging that gets your customers bragging about their decision to buy your products.

Be remembered for your packaging for the right reasons. The technology, materials, and knowledge of consumer behavior are perfectly aligned to deliver on packaging that works for you not against you.

Consumers Do Care About Packaging
Packaging cannot be an afterthought. A survey by Sealed Air conducted by Harris Poll highlights why companies must put innovative ecommerce packaging at the top of the “to do” list. While this survey dates back to 2014, the results are relevant today and highlight how far most companies still have to go.

Consider these survey results from the Sealed Air 2014 Packaging for e-Commerce Success survey of 2,000 American consumers:

  • 58% say that if they received a damaged or broken product from an online order, they would either order from a competitor or not purchase from the retailer again.
  • 78% believe their ecommerce purchase should be packaged and processed for shipping within 24 hours of the purchase time.
  • 94% of respondents believe there are environmentally-friendly packaging options and 77% state that a company’s packaging should reflect their environmental values.
  • 48% believe the better the packaging, the better the product inside. This belief is more common with the 18 – 34 demographic.
  • 66% say the packaging reflects how much the retailer cares about them and their purchase.

The numbers cannot be ignored any longer. It’s time for companies to step up and address these ecommerce packaging concerns head-on. The good news is that this is the ideal time to be focusing on packaging innovation – the technology, materials, support systems, and packaging expertise are perfectly aligned for success. Yes, change is hard – but when it comes to packaging, it has to happen.

With the survey results from consumers in mind, we want you to think hard about the numbers from a recent Jabil survey conducted in May 2017. In the Jabil 2017 Trends in e-Commerce Packaging survey, Jabil surveyed more than 200 professionals responsible for packaging to learn more about the trends in ecommerce packaging.

  • 95% believe packaging impacts online experience.
  • 95% say bad packaging can ruin the online customer experience.
  • 97% say good packaging can create a memorable customer experience.
  • 7 in 10 say packaging costs are a barrier to expanding ecommerce initiatives.
  • 96% think about worst-case scenarios in packaging but only 54% test for them.

These 200 packaging professionals are working hard to think like consumers and highlight the following as the top five opportunities to drive innovation in ecommerce packaging:

  1. Radio Frequency Identification (RFID).
  2. Sustainable packaging.
  3. Cost reduction of materials previously out of scope.
  4. New models for replenishment solutions.
  5. Ability to self-report issues in shipping.

These numbers and survey results speak to the need for companies to shift focus and energy to ecommerce packaging. It does matter. It is a differentiator. Companies who fail to move forward with packaging technologies and innovation will be left behind.

The Time to Innovate is Now
Successful innovation in the consumer packaged goods space is hard. But not impossible.

In a world where people are constantly on the go, a product’s performance, convenience, and sustainability are game-changers for leading brands. Knowing how to connect with the instant gratification generation is vital. With the right innovative steps, you can better serve your customers and win in the face of powerful competition – on the shelf, online, and in the home.

The reality is that consumer goods companies need help with innovation packaging. After all, your specialty is your consumer good – not the packaging. This is where Radius and Jabil come together to give you a win-win scenario. Our sole focus is on realizing innovation for the right outcomes – and for you this means delivering the ecommerce packaging solutions that set you apart from your competitors and enable you to make a good impression with your consumers.

Real packaging innovation influences and reinforces:

  • Price. With top quality design, materials, and complexity, you’re able to reinforce the inherent value in your product and justify the price.
  • Performance. Packaging has the power to educate, inform, and make it easier for your customers to use your product. Innovative messaging, graphics, and lay-out can make life easier for your buyers.
  • Convenience. The better designed, the more able packaging is to create a connection with your customers. Remember, the customer wants to feel like she made the right purchase decision, the wrong packaging can stimulate feelings of buyer’s remorse.
  • Brand Values. Your customers care about the environment and global issues. Innovative ecommerce packaging has the opportunity to take advantage of the latest in sustainable packaging materials and technology.
  • Brand Position. You need to avoid the negative social media publicity that comes with too little or too much packaging. With smart labeling, the right materials, informative language, and supportive design – packaging can be an extension of your brand.
  • Differentiation. Consumers shop with their eyes first. With ecommerce packaging, what they see when they open their front door or mailbox is key. Remember this is the first impression you’re making – first impressions count. Stand out for the right reasons.

Giving consumers what they want while ensuring product integrity, market relevance, cost controls, and market-leading status is not easy. Often, we see companies trying to do it all. You know what happens next – the product suffers, the innovation falls behind, and the packaging is sub-par.

We want you to embrace innovative packaging but we want you to do it the right way. Watch our webinars, contact us, and learn more about our Packaging Innovation Sprint.

Stand out for the right reasons. Smart, innovative packaging that gives you and your customers all the right feelings. Use your packaging to deliver on innovation realized – outcomes achieved.

Remember to watch our free on-demand packaging webinars:

Making More Good with Innovation

We are living in a remarkable time. The pace of innovation is overwhelming. Technologies and advances that were scenes in a science fiction movie five years ago, are now making a difference in how we live.

We’re experiencing huge advances in augmented reality, wearables, 3D printing, artificial intelligence, miniaturization, smart cities, smart manufacturing and more. This has created an augmented pace of invention and innovation.

At Radius we are privileged to be involved in the cutting edge of these technological advances.  As we do so, its important to us that we take a step back from all of the excitement and technology and remind ourselves that what we are really doing is  Using technology to solve real-world problems that make a tangible difference in the lives of others: creating innovation for the greater good.

The news cycle in recent months and days has been disheartening. With natural disasters, human conflict, social injustices, and the struggles of day-to-day living – it can feel as though there is more bad than good.

While we don’t have a measuring stick on the bad versus good – we do know that there is some very exciting thinking and creating happening right now. This thinking and creating is sparking change that can and will make more good in the world.

We want to spark a conversation on how we can do more good with our opportunities to innovate, lead, create, and develop. Those of us in the innovation community are fortunate to have these opportunities and it helps to remind ourselves of the good we’re helping to realize and create.

With all this being said, here’s a look at leading innovations and technologies that our team at Radius is excited about because of its positive impact on people and society. Share with us in the comments, Twitter or Facebook about the innovations you’re excited about.

Restoring Freedom of Movement
Imagine spending the entire day sitting with your legs crossed and sitting on your hands. You can’t move your legs. You can’t move your arms. You can’t move your hands. The drive to reverse paralysis and restoring freedom of movement is a real life-changer for anyone who cannot move freely. At Switzerland’s École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, leading researchers and scientists are working to move neurotechnology forward so it can become a real difference maker. Neural bypass is key in giving anyone with paralysis the ability to move freely again. Neurotechnology can give people the power to control their limbs again – the same way able-bodied people move – by thinking about it. While the advancements in this technology are slow, there is real human drive to make neural bypass a reality. As John Donoghue, the head of the Swiss center says, “Ask someone if they would like to move their own arm. People would prefer to be restored to their everyday self. They want to be reanimated.”

Better, Safer Living
Wearables for newborns. Health tech startup Neopenda has created a wearable that monitors four key newborn vital signs. Using a battery-charged sensor and wireless communication, a special baby hat can monitor heart rate, respiration, blood oxygen saturation, and temperature. What makes this especially interesting is that the company wants to keep costs low ($75 per unit), ensuring that newborns in the developing world get the medical care they need.

Flashing lights to alert the distracted to danger. Too many people are walking along busy city streets looking down at their smartphones. So, engrossed in their phones, these people are unaware of traffic lights, people, and even the sounds of traffic. Stradtwerke Augsburg, a transportation company in Germany has developed traffic signals that are located in the ground. Those looking down while on their phones in the community of Augsburg, Germany are alerted to traffic signals. The lights blink green for safe and red when a tram or train is quickly arriving.

Harnessing Sunlight for Real Energy
Solar panels are no longer a novelty, in fact they’ve reached the level of ubiquity. This is a good thing, however the real power of these solar panels is slow to be realized. Solar panels remain expensive, bulky, and inefficient. However, a team of MIT researchers is developing a new type of solar power cell that could double the efficiency of today’s solar panels. Using technology that converts sunlight into heat and then using this to create energy, solar panels could be used to generate power when the sun has set. These hot solar cells are still in development and there are obstacles with component costs, however this research could spark more innovation that can help deliver affordable solar power – reducing the environmental impact and cost of energy.

Inspired? Ready to Make More Good?
Innovation and out-of-the-box thinking has got us here. Now we need to go further. Taking inspiration from the innovators, researchers, and thinkers who see problems as chances for problem-solving.

We know the feeling of being integral in the product development and production of cutting-edge – we want you to experience this. You’ve got an idea. You know there is a nagging problem that needs to be solved. You’ve got a sketch for a new product that can help. Now you need to take that extra step.

Put away the technology device. Turn off your newsfeed and alerts. Focus on the good and the opportunity. Contact us. We can work together to create more greatness. Let’s get people moving better, communicating more, and living better lives. This is true innovation. This is the Radius Effect. Innovation Realized. Outcomes Achieved.

Healthcare Innovation is the Future – Be Part of It

Which comes first innovation or success? Without innovation you can’t experience success. However, with success you can drive and support innovation. Ideally you have both working in tandem to excite, stimulate, and drive your team to keep reaching and pushing farther. It’s this drive forward to continually break-down barriers that has allowed the U.S. medical device industry to lead the world production of medical devices.

It’s this high success rate along with a commitment to pushing technology, that makes it exciting to work with medical device innovators. Admittedly, the Radius team likes to work with true innovators and out-of-the-box thinkers and this vibe encapsulates our medical device partners.

Medical Device Industry At-A-Glance
At a first glance of the medical device industry, it’s quite remarkable that there is such a large degree of innovation and thought leadership. Most industries that are bound by layers of legislation, regulations, standards, bureaucratic approvals, and tax would buckle under the pressure.

This is not the case in the U.S. In fact, despite the stress and pressures of these barriers to entry and success, the U.S. is the global leader with sales of approximately $136 billion, representing an estimated 45% of the global market.

With 9,000 U.S.-based medical device manufacturers, many of these with fewer than 50 employees, providing 520,000 U.S. jobs, and generating $150 billion in direct sales – only highlights how important it is to continue driving innovation and leadership in this industry.

Harnessing Opportunity and Getting to the Next Level

Understanding how patients and caregivers interact with devices and technology and how value is created is critical to informing medical device innovation and development. Radius is a market leader in this field. We have decades of experience designing and developing healthcare technology and humanizing patient experiences and finding how they intersect to create real value.

We are committed to working with our healthcare, pharmaceutical, and medical device companies to ensure that success continues and real differences can be made. Together we can help you imagine and deliver on a real digital future.

One of the key areas in which we are seeing challenges for the healthcare and medical device industry is in that of being able to quickly adapt to the pressures of healthcare legislation and regulations. Now, we can’t change the decision-makers and force them to see things from your (and our) perspective – but we can support you in harnessing the opportunities presented by legislation and regulations. (For our team of experts, there is no such thing as can’t – instead we take a step back and find the best way to turn every challenge into an opportunity.)

  • Home and self-care. More and more people are looking outside of the traditional healthcare domain to solve their health problems. Many individuals are frustrated with the rising costs of traditional healthcare and have a deep desire to take control of their health situation. For the medical device industry, this can only be a positive. Being able to quickly harness the drive of your early adopters allows you to easily and readily learn what your customers need and want in their quest for peak health. The key then for you is ensuring that you’re connecting with this innovative demographic and giving them the best healthcare solution possible.
  • Emergent care system. There is lots of room for improvement in the emergent care system. Improvements that allow healthcare providers to streamline costs and processes, to better deliver top-in-class products and service, and to ultimately ensure that those who need care are getting it. But, how best to keep the costs of the emergent care system from exploding while still giving the best care possible? This is a worldwide challenge – but one that can be solved. By knowing and understanding the market, human, regulatory, and legislation and market influences that are driving costs and hampering care – change and development can happen. Working with those who have deep skills in research, analysis, insight, and regulatory compliance is the only way to ensure that healthcare innovators and medical device leaders are not slowed by a stagnant system.
  • Patient empowerment. Patients know that they shouldn’t have to settle for second best or be forced to wait for the exact cutting-edge care they need. It used to be that patients simply relied on their doctors and other healthcare experts for answers and solutions. Now though, we have the Internet – and as you know this has changed everything. From home DNA testing, activity monitors, connected glucose monitors, virtual medical diagnosis solutions, and 24/7 access to information – healthcare is leading the pack in innovation. Patients want and need to be empowered – and the key to this is in ensuring that as a healthcare innovator, you’re able to respond, react, and deliver this empowerment. Goes beyond data. Synthesize data into insights…

So, what does this mean for you? You understand the connection between innovation and success. You are driven by a deep need to solve patient problems and concerns. However, at times it seems that forces are working against you and the entire healthcare and medical device industry to do this good work.

This is why it’s vitally important for you to remember what sparked your idea and why you’re driven by a need to make the lives of patients better. The Radius team is committed, just like you to being a leader in healthcare solutions. We know there is a need. We know there are hurdles. But we also know that by working together – we can realize innovation and see outcomes achieved.

Keeping the Design Human

Finding new ways to connect to your consumer is harder than it’s ever been before and the expectation for flawless experiences is extraordinary.   If we think about who buys, uses, and connects with your products the complexity of our new business world and unprecedented rate of change make is forget that at the center of our world is humans. Whether your product is a new air filter,  a new fitness monitor or new insulin pen – you need to deeply understand and design for your user. All too often, we meet with product innovators who forget that regardless of how great their idea is, if it isn’t putting humans first – it’s not going to connect.

We’ve all ended up buying products that at first glance appear to solve our problems and make life easier, but in the end, simply end up complicating it..

To help put an end to great ideas getting lost in poor design, we want to take a deep dive into human-centered design. We want you, regardless of your role or niche, to remember that humans and human need must be your core focus. The only way to get to the real emotional and personal attachment that we all give our most favorite products, websites, services, tools, etc. is by establishing a human-first approach.

You might be thinking that of course, it’s obvious that you need to put your users first and think of how your users will interact with your new product. But, think of the packaging that came with your latest purchase or how confusing it was to assemble your kid’s bike or how frustrated you get with the tiny buttons on your remote control. Exactly, our point – these were not created with a human-centered design process  – and at Radius we have the people, expertise, and process to help.

Good design and real success are intrinsically linked. They don’t happen in a vacuum and one can’t supersede the other. With a foundation in discovery, innovation, and human-centered design, you get the innovation you’re seeking.

What is Human-Centered Design?
Google human-centered design and you’ll get multiple pages of search results taking you to different companies who have various opinions on this topic. At Radius we take a deeply engrained cross and multi-functional approach to ensuring human-centered design is at the forefront of our thinking from insight to commercialization.

The definition of human-centered design as outlined by ISO 9241-210 – Ergonomics of Human Centered System Interaction, states:

Human-centered design is an approach to interactive systems development that aims to make systems usable and useful by focusing on the users, their needs and requirements, and by applying human factors/ergonomics, and usability knowledge and techniques. This approach enhances effectiveness and efficiency, improves human well-being, user satisfaction, accessibility and sustainability; and counteracts possible adverse effects of use on human health, safety and performance.

This is heavy terminology. Let’s break it down and look at it carefully:

  • Aims to make systems usable. This idea must be proven to be usable, well-designed, and applicable to the problem at hand. Ensuring the core functionality is achieved by your user group is critical.
  • Focusing on the users, their needs and requirements. Knowing the user and what they like, dislike, want, need, definitely don’t want, and how best to deliver this. The user is at the core of every step forward and subsequent step back to reframe and adjust.
  • Applying human factors/ergonomics. Understanding users capabilities and limitations through a cognitive, physical and emotional len’s are critical to understanding your problem then designing amazing products to meet their needs.
  • Usability knowledge and techniques. Content strategy, visual design, usability testing, digital design, haptics, front-end coding – all these are required to build an intimate understanding of what your users want to experience.
  • Enhances effectiveness and efficiency. Does this product make sense? Is there industry demand and technological support for this idea? How does this idea improve the lives of users? What other products are out there trying to do the same thing?
  • Improves human well-being, user satisfaction, accessibility and sustainability. You need to know that you’re on the right track, that you’re creating a product that ticks all the boxes for your users. Will user desires be met? Does it make life easier? Will the user accept it and use it?
  • Counteracts possible adverse effects. Relentless testing, prototyping, regulatory standards review, and qualification are keys in successful human-centered design. No one wants to deliver a product that harms or fails.

This is how we deliver innovation. We keep this definition at our core and center back to it during every phase of our discovery, design, development, and delivery process. There is no way to skip a step or do something half-way. All our teams understanding the principles of a human centered design approach and share its application throughout.

Work with the Humans at Radius
Real human-centered design relies on real experts who ask the hard questions, are doing the work behind-the-scenes, and challenging themselves (and you) to get to the ultimate goal of innovation realized and outcomes achieved. Simply put, we have the experts in place that allow us to put the human first.

And to be frank, we’re tired of buying products and services that don’t cut it. Like you, we work hard for our salaries and we want to make sure we’re getting the best we can – whether it’s a car seat that keeps our kids protected or a toothbrush that reminds us to keep at it for a few more seconds or new headset that doesn’t fall apart as soon as it’s unpackaged.

Human-centered design is not going anywhere. It’s not a fad. It’s the real deal. Take advantage of the Radius effect and work with the best.

Pumping Up the Volume on Hearables

Just take a moment and do something for us. Put your finger in your ear. Yes, in your ear. What did you find? We found a space that is the next frontier for personalized wearable technology. Taking human-centered design to the next level, innovators and forward-thinkers are moving from your wrist to your ear.

While your ear might be empty right now (please take your finger out), in a year or two, it’s very likely that you will no longer be able to stick your finger in your ear. Sure, we joke a bit here, but the next level of wearable technology really is in our ears.

Technology and out-of-the-box creatives have gifted us with new ways to communicate, learn, thrive, and adapt to our surroundings. And this next wave of change will be coming through our ears. The hearable space is still in a relatively new phase of development but all indicators are pointing to huge growth in sales and product development.

Hearables are the Cutting Edge of Wearables
In 2014, Nick Hunn, a leading wireless technology expert wrote:

Forget wristbands – The Ear is the new Wrist”.

These were heavy words in 2014, a time when wearable devices such as fitness trackers were struggling to thrive and people were still slightly skeptical of smartwatches. In fact, Hunn went even further in 2014 by coining the term that we all use so ubiquitously now: hearables.

Now in 2017, we’re busy reading reports, reviews, beta testing, and prototyping the latest innovations in hearables. What was just an idea in 2014 based on the hypothesis that consumers wanted more from their wearables: a simpler interface, less maintenance, the end of cables, real-life practicality, and useful data analysis – has morphed into an exciting space for product development.

In his 2016 report The Market for Hearable Devices 2016 – 2020, Hunn wrote that market indicators show that the predicted revenue for hearables is in excess of $40 billion in 2020.

This is why we want you to get excited about hearables. The opportunities for consumer, medical, and industrial innovation in hearable applications is unprecedented. Do us a favor and stick your finger in your ear again – now imagine what you can do with this space….

Hearables for the Everyday
Hearing aids. Earbuds. Personal Sound Amplifiers (PSAPs). Health monitors. Translators.

This is what the hearable space looks like today. Now think of where we can take this technology with a focus on human-centered design and harnessing the latest in technology advancements.

How are you going to be part of the $40 billion hearable market?

  • Artificial Intelligence. Will you be the leader in applying useful AI to hearables? Do consumers want hearables that can literally talk to them? An in-ear device that reminds patients to take medication or alerts healthcare providers when a patient’s heart rate and body temperature have exceeded acceptable levels. Or a hearable that encourages you to run faster or motivates you with personal messages during a marathon. How do you know if this is what consumers want?
  • Language translation. Gone are the days of language dictionaries – now we rely on our smartphones and smartwatches. But what if you could get instant language translation directly in your ear? You’re in a Belgian bakery but don’t speak Flemish, with a hearable translator you can easily purchase exactly what you want. For language learning, imagine the improvements with an in-ear language instructor that adjusts to the language needs specific to your environment.
  • Biometric monitoring. Gone are the days of restrictive heart rate monitor chest straps and inconsistent wrist monitors. With smart hearable technology, medical biometric monitoring reaches a new level. Wearers can get instant feedback on their heart rate, body temperature, and respiration. For healthcare experts monitoring patients remotely, they can deliver instant in-ear medical advice based on the data being transmitted by the medical hearable.
  • Communication for all. For people living with hearing loss, this can be a very isolating experience. Smaller and smarter hearing aids and PSAPs can make it easier to remove the barriers of not being able to hear and easily communicate. From design, materials, customized fit, personalized capabilities – the advancements in hearing aids and PSAPs truly will make a difference in day-to-day living for so many people.
  • Safety and confidence. An elderly person living alone can easily communicate with their family members with a nod of the head that signals the integrated hearable phone to place a phone call. Security personnel are no longer limited by distance and space when receiving instant updates regarding threats. Long-haul truckers and other heavy machinery operators can be discreetly monitored for signs of fatigue and receive updates of traffic slow-downs or other barriers. How can you be part of making a difference in workplace or home safety?
  • Entertainment. Music, movies, podcasts, VR – imagine how you can create a hearable that is customized sound signal quality and the shape of the consumer’s ear. Trying to listen to a critical call on a crowded subway platform gets easier with a hearable that can monitor sound frequency levels, dimming background sound for easier hearing. Music aficionados can take the advanced speaker technology and literally put in their ears. Add in the capabilities of new materials that can remember the unique shape of the ear along with the ability to provide customized sound – and you’ve got a revolution in listening and hearing.

The big question that remains is – what will you do? What do you think is the next big break-through in hearables? Will you sit back and wait to see what happens or will you be a leader in hearables? How will you realize the digital future?

Hearables Equals Innovation Realized Outcomes Achieved
We at Radius are keen to work with the leaders and innovators. This is what we’re all about.

We’ve got the best minds in discovery, design, development, and delivery. Take advantage of our expertise in consumer, medical, and industrial ideation to ensure you’re part of leading the next wave of hearable technology.

The choice is yours and we’re here to support you in discovering the true potential of your ideas.