Burnie is our animated robotic toaster, the one on the book cover. You may be wondering why we put Burnie there, since he is not a real product like the others in this book. These days, if a product team walked into the office of their VP of New Product and said, “We have just developed the world’s first walking toaster!” the answer might be “Great! But can it walk on water?” Burnie represents the incredible requests made of teams and individuals working in the area of new product and service development. A walking toaster may or may not be what the public wants, nor may it fit a company’s strategic plan. The question is, “How do you know?”
In this book, we give many examples of real products. The teams developed these products only after fully understanding their customers’ needs, assessing the strength and boundaries of their company’s brand, considering how and how far they could extend the brand, and thinking of their company’s strategic needs for innovation and organic growth. A smart shoe, a device for cleaning floors without water, a robot that is not a toaster but that does repair sewer systems, and a pickup truck that fulfills fantasy expectations are part of the array of case studies and their corresponding methods of development we provide to enable you to make the right choice in the design of things to come.