Dometic, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of climate control systems for RVs, motorhomes and caravans, was losing ground on the market. In their bid to regain their leading position, we were asked to identify opportunities and possible areas of short and mid-term innovations.
The market for climate control for RVs is comprised of a few key players, all multinationals companies, who compete on both aftermarket and OEM markets (selling directly to manufacturers). There is no clear differentiation, A/C units are sold mainly based on specs, not benefits or innovations.
On the other hand, the overarching trends of adventure-seeking experiences, back-to-nature escapism and constant self-improvement are driving the market growth for outdoor activities and gear. While technological advances make anything possible, implemented solutions were anything but user-focused. Therefore the moment was ripe for the industry leaders to jump from incremental improvements to radical innovations, which would only be successful if developed with users in mind.
In order to uncover users’ pain points, unmet needs and underlying motivations we went out of the building to observe and interview real users, in the context of use. Yet, observing only end user would tell just half of the story; that is why we included other stakeholders in the research, including experts (product managers, marketing professionals, service technicians, aftermarket salesmen and OEM manufacturers). This way we gained a comprehensive overview of the entire business ecosystem, and uncovered innovation and improvement areas which are not exclusively product-based with differentiation potential.
Our design research project resulted in 22 different short-term improvement areas and 21 identified innovation opportunities both for mid- and long-term R&D. We mapped out the opportunities according to estimated time & investment requirements. By uncovering improvement and innovation opportunities, we’ve helped the client define the direction for future innovation and differentiation based on real stakeholder benefits.