Is your product a platform?

Panasonic Vortex

When looking at a product or service, ask this: will it grow, change, and update with the times, or will it become something that needs to be replaced as it becomes obsolete? In these electronic times, the future is exandability –┬ánot just for iPods and other gadgets, but for every electronic product.

My wife got me a Panasonic Vortex Hydra Clean electric razor that is a wonderful product. It shaves close, it cleans itself, you can have the head pivot or not pivot…it’s a well done product. No matter how good it is, it will never be any better. Instead of making a razor that will always be a razor, they could make it a razor platform, similar to how the iPod has become an entire industry of accessories and addons.

Make your product a platform

One of my gripes for the Vortex is that its cleaning cycle is quite loud. I often forget to plug it in during the day to clean, so I end up having to wait another day; it’s too loud to clean at night. I want there to be a timing mechanism so I can schedule the cleaning times and dates. This feature does not yet exist.

If Panasonic added a dock to their product (and any of their other products) and allowed add-ons, an entire industry could formulate around the product. Expandibility is inspiring because it allows users to dream for a better product. The innovations that would arise would add value and customization to the user experience. This, in turn, adds value to the product and the company.

How does expandibility affect your industry or your company? Are you missing opportunities by defining your product too narrowly?