My philosophy at Ring has always been to avoid inventing new devices, just for the sake of it. Last week, live on stage at Web Summit 2022 in Lisbon, I spoke with Nora Ali of Morning Brew to share why I believe the ‘reinvention’ of products is so important when it comes to innovation.
Reinventing the Ordinary
In my early days as an inventor, I realised the importance of developing a product that people were already familiar with. It’s why I created the original Ring Video Doorbell, called Doorbot. We took an existing, ordinary concept and transformed it into something that fulfilled a bigger purpose - to make people feel safe. Doorbot became a device that made you feel like you were always home, and always knew what was going on - even if you were far away.
By giving a new purpose to something that already existed, I could avoid what I refer to as “over-invention”, which is essentially creating something so unique and new that consumers need an in-depth explanation to understand it. As an inventor in my garage in 2011, I recognised the doorbell was a device that everyone was familiar with, they knew its place in the home and used it everyday. So I made reinventing the doorbell the sole focus of my attention and the Ring Video Doorbell was born.
This spirit of reinvention has continued with our latest product, Ring Intercom. We’ve taken the traditional intercom handset and reinvented it, to meet the needs of even more customers. By taking a classic concept and giving it a modern twist means we can bring peace of mind and convenience to those who live in all sorts of home, including apartments.
Reinventing the Role of Inventor
However, it’s not just about reinventing products. To improve the customer experience, it’s crucial to reinvent your mindset as an inventor too. I’ve personally seen that during Ring’s evolution, it’s been so important for our invention process to steer away from traditional methods and typical business norms. By taking my own unique journey and learning from my own mistakes - rather than those of others - I could really understand the direction I needed to be headed in.
It’s just one of the reasons I’ve purposefully kept the design of our Video Doorbells consistent for the last ten years. While some businesses believe you have to keep changing the look of a product every 18 months, we believe that’s not always the case. At Ring, we don’t want customers to feel like they have an outdated product by the way it looks, when in fact they have the same level of features, technology and innovation that everyone else has.
Changing your mindset can also mean taking unusual decisions when it comes to how you interact with your customers. For the last decade, I’ve kept my real email address on every single Ring device box - despite being told at every stage to remove it. However, getting real-time feedback, direct from customers on the ground has meant I could fix things faster, and develop a closer connection to customers and what they really want.
I’m excited about the future potential for Ring and I know we will continue to use reinvention as a way to innovate and achieve our mission of making neighbourhoods safer for many years to come.