Skip to Content

Turning great ideas and design into great products for customers

Lisa Mitnick
12 Sep 2022

Success starts with knowing what your customers want, to identify new areas of opportunity

Inspiration can translate into an effective yet practical product design, creating a product that is visually appealing and differentiated enough that you’ll be able to leapfrog the competition.

That’s the conviction Heatworks founder Jerry Callahan shares with Inna Lobel, creative director of frog, a Capgemini Invent business. Callahan talks innovation and design in the third episode of our six-part Leaders in Innovation podcast, a partnership we have with Products That Count.

Heatworks often is credited with reinventing the way the world heats and uses water. These products promote energy efficiency and are designed with the consumer in mind. From digital water heaters to a countertop dishwasher that resembles slight waves on a pond or lake, Callahan has learned the importance of consumer-centric design and product development.

Business today is more persona and data driven than ever. Success starts with knowing what your customers want to identify new areas of opportunity.

For Callahan and Heatworks, one of the biggest lessons learned was embracing the understanding that it’s impossible to please everyone all the time. Be thoughtful in picking your targets. Researching and understanding customer needs is critical. Is the product going to solve an unmet need for the intended, targeted customer? Can it be priced at a point that customer can afford?

This idea was reinforced when Heatworks was trying to expand into international markets with the Tetra Countertop Dishwasher. It was an incredibly popular item in the United States, as empty-nesters, smaller families, and those with limited physical space embraced the space- and energy-saving appliance.

This was not the case in South America, the first place Heatworks tested the product outside the US. Callahan said they didn’t understand basic economics of life there, where people who could afford a dishwasher had no need for one during the day, when family members and staff were available to help. What was needed was an even more compact dishwasher to handle dishes, especially baby bottles, that accumulated overnight. The Baby Tetra was born.

Heatworks’ team of engineers focuses on processes as a complement to creativity. A process to solve a problem that results in a product consumers will love presented in an attractive design translates to market success, Callahan said.

Listen to the full podcast here.

Learn more about Capgemini Intelligent Products & Services.

Meet the author

Lisa Mitnick

Executive Vice President, Capgemini InventGroup Offer Leader, Intelligent Products & Services
A hands-on digital leader and entrepreneur, Lisa Mitnick has more than 20 years’ experience delivering business success with deep knowledge in strategy, product management, cutting-edge technology services and business development. With industry expertise in communications, media, technology, health and government/public sector, she has harnessed the power of technology to transform services and improve client and customer experiences.