Virtual Reality is helping companies shorten investment and innovation cycles

Photo by Nan Palmero, licensed CC BY 2.0

A contest is being held for creators to use Google’s Blocks Virtual Reality (VR) creation software and incorporate the robot building blocks posted by Jarlan Perez, a 3D artist at Google, for the chance to win a $50 Steam gift card.

Entries can be delivered as a still image, video, GIF or Blocks Gallery, and need to include the #BotsWithBlocks hashtag when posted to the Blocks Gallery and social media. The models can be integrated into other software in preparing the final submission, but the original creation “must be made in Blocks,” according to the contest rules.

VR could be the playground for innovation, and a product idea lab for your company’s new strategy.

This got me thinking, can VR be used before huge investments and risks are taken? Can VR become critical to shortening the innovation or product development decision processes?

The process today is that most companies have either semi-annual or annual investment review committees to decide on critical high dollar innovation projects. For large companies, a divisional VP or SVP take their ideas and present the business case to the investment committee. Business case & ROI models take 3 to 6 months.  Scheduling with the investment committee can take 3 months or more, and by the time the idea is funded and the project starts, it’s a 12 to 18 month cycle.

This process is killing companies because they cannot keep up with the pace of competition and change.

A look into the future

VR has actually been used for years within the video game industry. All of the large video game publishers have already established a VR decision process.

(Since they make a digital product, I will admit that this makes it much easier to roll-out this process model.)

They first roll out an alpha version to internal Q/A staff to get game play and story feedback. Second, they send out the beta version to a select list of true gamer enthusiasts. The video game publishers place telemetry markers within the game to get feedback as to stickiness of story line as well as any frustration of play at each level of the game. Lastly, all of the VR/digital game play data gives them the best path and insight as to the revenue or freemium pricing strategy. What I like about this model is: before incurring all of the marketing and publishing expense out of the gate for the game, they have received ideation feedback through the following process:

New World VR/Digital Investment Model

  1. Internal Subject Matter Experts provide product feedback in a non-threating/non-political feedback cycle
  2. Enthusiastic customers provide product feedback, both positive or negative in a non-threating manner. Since most of the feedback is also based on behavior within the game, the publishers can feel confident in its authenticity.
  3. The virtual digital data show the roadmap for the best pricing strategy and product success.
  4. This data will drive the final go/no-go funding decision for final product release.

Every company has answers within the organization as to whom are the best subject matter experts (SME) with insightful impact as to innovation ideas and strategy. VR could be the playground for innovation, and a product idea lab for your company’s new strategy. In a non-political process, your SME’s and employees can let the best ideas win through the VR decision process. Companies could then only fund those winning ideas percolating up from their VR idea lab and would help them “turn on a dime” with new already tested strategic ideas.

I would really like to hear your thoughts on VR, and how it will have an impact within your organization.