Tech for tech’s sake will get you nowhere: get your idea right first


Thinking idea first, platform second, is the key to great tech innovations, writes Samantha Ramlu.

Remember Pokemon GO? The success of this augmented reality juggernaut soon prompted requests for a similarly groundbreaking idea, which is a little like asking an author to write another Harry Potter, or suggest TVNZ whip up another Breaking Bad.

By Monday, thanks.

The truth is for every great VR, AR or other innovative experience there are at least 20 others that don’t hit the mark. A misguided idea or poor execution can give the industry a bad reputation. Like it or not, people tend to remember bad experiences in far greater detail than good ones.

We’ve found the easiest solution is to forget tech altogether, which I know sounds bizarre given the times we live in. It’s too easy to get sidetracked by AR, VR, MR, NFC, brain
sensors, trackers, face recognition and 3D printing (the list drones on! And, don’t forget drones!).

These are all incredible platforms to market your brand or product experience to an eager audience, but the first and most important hurdle is to create something worth showcasing – the ‘wow’ experience.

The trick is ‘idea first, then best platform’. Do you want to release your experience as soon as possible to maximise on novelty as the key factor? Or spend time to make it more unique and a better fit with your brand? Regardless, the idea must be done well. We’ve seen companies put out costly experiences that didn’t work as planned, either because of poor
execution or because it didn’t resonate with their audience. Even choosing the right delivery method within the tech can make or break the experience.

Let’s use VR experiences as an example, a space we’ve worked in extensively since 2013 (when the Oculus first launched on Kickstarter). One challenge we still have with
VR is how to make the experience more accessible. So – how to best deliver a VR experience when not everyone has a $3000 PC and headset kit sitting in their lounge?

As always, there are options. Create an activation or event around it – showcase the experience at trade shows, exhibition, event, or take a road show around the country. There are portable devices and wired ones that both work well here. Then there are branded cardboard devices that you can use as a branded takeaway experience for customers – these are better as short form and less interactive content but are a great portable, giveaway option.

Timing is key as well – it’s true, good things do take time. Be realistic with what you’re expecting and how much time you have to execute. If it’s never been done before then four
weeks is probably not going to be enough time for development. Rushing through the development stage will typically lead to a sub-par experience and this has a negative effect on your brand.

It should never be tech for tech’s sake. The idea has to be right. Try to use tech wisely and create a marketing strategy which ensures links back to your business objectives. We can figure out what makes a good experience, story or medium. Is the journey more important than how it’s delivered?

The obvious answer is a bit of both.

A good story is the difference between apathy and empathy, entertainment and boredom, engagement or disconnection. In the words of Benjamin Franklin, ‘by failing to prepare you are preparing to fail.’

Let’s make another Pokemon GO, but let’s also take our time to get the idea and platform so right the rest of the world can’t ignore it.

This article first appeared in

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About Author

Samantha Ramlu

Samantha Ramlu is managing director and co-founder at Method, and founder at M Theory.

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