How sustainable is your innovation?

Hay Tractor Bale


I was watching the Chelsea Flower Show on TV this week and the presenter, Monty Don, said something that chimed with me: “Gardening would survive without technology.”

The context is that technology has crept into domestic horticulture and more so into the supply of products to the market. But the act of gardening itself and the fundamental methods that gardening is built on haven’t changed much.

Yes, temperature control of indoor environments, irrigation and lighting have come on. Yet the condition of soil still relies on organic matter. If technology failed tomorrow, plants wouldn’t stop growing.

This set me thinking about other markets that would outlive technology.

Art is a relatively base activity. Lots of what you see as branding and communications imagery has been created by an artist and then digitised, Photoshopped, manipulated, pixelated and .png-d. Digital art may not be robust enough to survive without technological support, but traditional art is.

Writing is another very human endeavour. We might call it content today, but people would still write down opinions and musings, record events as they happen, or as they’d like them to have happened, in the absence of technology. The only difference is that fewer people would see your output. No spell checker? So what.

What is technology? Do we include air travel? Well, if that wasn’t possible anymore, you’d see a really quick re-focusing onto local food production. Imagine a food market without bananas 365. Here we are, back at horticulture and by association, agriculture. Suddenly the true value of food becomes apparent and produce is valued, rather than just traded.

This may be a romantic, or even dystopian, exercise but it’s a useful one if applied to how we define value. Does your product have a long lifecycle, or is it a passing interest?

Could you sell your service differently if the market was organised in a different way?

Value-based pricing is a concept that looks at what the product does for its user, and how much they would be prepared to pay for it, rather than assess at what price a manufacturer can ‘afford’ to sell its product. In other words, it calculates the cost of a product not being available to the end user.

While we have a multiplicity of choice in all digital markets, pricing is a competitive equation. In new markets, the value of a product is usually higher when it is first introduced and then finds a lower level as more options become available. But the value of the original work – the piece of art, the poem, the hybrid hardy plant – generally appreciates over time. Uniqueness has a part to play, but so does availability and supply. Scarcity costs more.

Today, commercial ambition tends to target high volume. The harsh reality is that the price of a new concept will probably fall over time, unless it is managed so as to realise its true value.

There is another way, and we like to take a different view of opportunities with our clients. While this is a strategy that can’t always work, it deserves to be tried more often than it is. Value-based pricing: look it up, and give us a call.

Seeing it differently. Future-proofing. It’s what we do.