Both consumer electronics and apparel are notoriously difficult businesses competing in mature industries. Wearable technology—everything from activity trackers like Fitbits and Misfits to watches like the Pebble to jewelry like the MEMI bracelet—blends two notoriously difficult, mature industries together: consumer electronics and apparel. Success is not guaranteed.
Design is often touted as the secret to success here, but what is often overlooked is the business models that will ensure wearables will take off. Because the fact remains that like many cool new ideas, some wearables may just be technology in search of a problem to solve. And even when they do solve a problem for users, the unanswered question still is how to create new and sustainable businesses around them.
That is where design thinking—with its ability to tackle complex problems from the perspective of deep user empathy—is the right approach to designing a business model strategy for wearable tech. In fact, the business model for wearables can be a key part of the product experience itself: The very tools that help create the product can be used to identify which models will support and enhance the customer experience.
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