Fisher-Price: The Classic Innovator

Jan 29, 2014

Credit Andrey Kiselev /

Who's the classic example of an innovative company that develops new products the right way? Fisher-Price

Toy-maker Fisher-Price is, in my opinion, the classic example of a company that develops new products the right way. Its customers, young kids, are said to be the most finicky of all consumers.

Fisher-Price sends its people into homes and playrooms. They want to see what play areas look like. What’s in them. How existing toys are being used. They look particularly for things that moms have adapted for children’s play. Necessity is the mother of invention, they agree, and moms are very inventive.

The trick, Fisher-Price says, is to overcome adult vision and think like a child. They do so by watching. By observing how kids want to play. How much room kids have.

You can’t sell a new toy for which there’s no room in the house.

When a new toy is developed kids are brought into the Fisher-Price lab, and they’re rotated regularly to avoid them becoming professional testers.

Of the hundreds of businesses I’ve worked with in the last sixty years, I don’t remember one in which developing a new product or service wasn’t benefited the most by watching customers use the existing products or interact with the existing service.

New processes may come from a laboratory. The best new products and services come from watching customers use the current ones.

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