Live from CES: Paul’s Scouting Trends, New Products, and More

January 9th, 2019

Paul Fisher, Director, Lean Growth, will be walking the show floor and scoping out products at the Consumer Electronic Show – CES. Check out what to expect, and follow along on social media as he finds trends, new products, and more.

I’ll never forget the first time I learned about CES from a former Procter & Gamble colleague; he’d returned from his week-long reconnaissance mission on a palpable high. Listening to him paint a picture of new gadgets and IoT as far as the eye could see incepted deep in my soul a desire to someday attend. Over the next two days, I’ll be at CES scouting the latest smart home, AR / VR, marketing tech, startup, and Bigco trends. I’ll be sharing my observations throughout my two days at the show, but here are a few things I’m specifically interested in exploring: 

What are the highest priority “Jobs to be Done” consumers need technology to solve? The Garage Group believes product innovation and strategy starts with the consumer, and “Jobs to be Done” (i.e. tasks consumers are trying to accomplish in their lives) is a great way to identify these needs. Google’s new Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa are a big part of the premarket buzz; both have been incessantly highlighted via ad campaigns and in the popular press. Helping consumers make their busy lives more efficient is a big job these companies want to address, but Google and Amazon aren’t the only Bigcos trying to solve this Job. Samsung, LG, and Whirlpool, to name a few, may be trying to solve similar jobs. But, we’re also curious about the panoply of other consumer Jobs big and small companies alike are addressing. AR, VR, and drones wow our senses; they also offer new ways for companies to connect with consumers and potentially meet needs they didn’t know they had.

What innovation spaces are must-see? Two days to cover three locations and thousands of square feet of floor space is a tall task; it’ll be easy to rack up steps on my Fitbit. As I mapped out my show plan, I went beyond smart home — health and wellness, wearable technologies, digital money, and more also made the list. More specifically, I’ll be taking a close look at how both big and small companies are playing in these spaces. The path to innovation can take multiple approaches, and some Bigcos are playing in the space via acquiring startups. “Big companies are realizing they need to start making bets on these smaller tech companies,” says Gabriel Halimi, co-founder, and CEO of Flo in a recent AdAge article. “The big companies want someone that is nimble and moves fast and the idea is that some of that startup mentality will rub off on them.” Other Bigcos, like P&G, are launching their own products at CES, and I’m looking forward to seeing how this comes to life at the convention center.

Lastly, what assumptions are these companies testing? Trade shows can be misinterpreted. It’s easy to assume they are ONLY about hyping new products. This isn’t the case. They are also testing desirability, feasibility, and viability. The product is a prototype to be tested, as are the pitch and the branding. Companies are testing their view of the world and identifying ways to tweak for both current and future innovation. The goal: maximize impact while minimizing risk.

With more than 100 companies, both Bigco and startups, to visit, there’s a lot to see. Our list of speakers to watch is full, so let’s get started! 

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