Focus groups are a traditional but powerful way to gather opinions on products, services and ideas. Over the last 18 months Longevity Explorers circles of older adults have had more than 70 face to face meetings providing direct, interactive feedback on products. This information can help companies to build better products. Partnering with programs in this way, Voler works with clients to ensure that together we are building the right product for the market. Our commitment to our clients goes beyond the electronic design or embedded software development. We have strategic partners to help ensure a successful product.Here are some results achieved by the Longevity Explorers groups:Unmet Needs: Explorer circles do a great job of uncovering unmet needs relating to daily life. They have quite a list of “problems that need solving”, many of which seem amenable to solution by a well designed new product.Product Explorations: The circles are very interested in comparative product evaluations, and have conducted several of these. They think that the idea of products for older adults, evaluated and recommended by a circle of older adults is a powerful concept.Brainstorming & Ideation: Some meetings are ideation and brainstorming sessions and are designed to identify problems with existing products, and brainstorm a range of quite specific product improvements, and feature additions. Despite what one reads about innovation and ideation being something that “young people” do on behalf of older adults, these circles of older adults are rather good at coming up with innovative and detailed ideas for better solutions to problems they care about.What people do today: Innovation often starts after you understand how people currently go about a task, and realize there are better ways to do it. A European researcher heard about the Explorer Circles, and asked the group to discuss some specific “how we do it today” questions, relating to medication management. His response to our report: “This is very rare data indeed”!Sponsored Exploration: As word of the explorations has spread, they have been approached by companies that want to test out early stage product concepts on the explorers, and hear their thoughts and ideas about how to improve the products. Recently, they did an experiment for a large Japanese company, to uncover unmet needs in a specific topic area, and critique some early stage product concepts their team had dreamt up. This Exploration produced results that were far deeper and richer than even the company expected.Read the full article “Longevity Explorers Roll Up Their Sleeves“Service excellence goes beyond delivering innovative products. At Voler, we value building long-term relationships to provide additional value to clients.