If you ask most people what the first touchscreen phone was, chances are a good portion will say either the iPhone or the Blackberry. They weren’t—IBM’s Simon won that title in 1992. But given both the popularity of the iPhone and Blackberry, and the impact they’ve had, it’s not hard to see why those are go-to answers. It’s also not hard to see what that says about technology products: Without wide adoption, it’s like they don’t exist. But getting users to adopt a tech product is a lot like designing it—success can largely depend on certain stars aligning just right.
“Technology is deceiving because great technology or great products seem to make everything so easy. … [But] pushing it out to the right people at the right time in the right way, communicating to them in a way that they hear and understand the value proposition, and why they should take a risk and a gamble, that’s hard to do,” explains Jeff Marple, director of innovation for the legal department at insurance company Liberty Mutual.
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