Fu Sheng, CEO of Cheetah Mobile published his thoughts on internet innovation. He believes there are 3 key points to it.
1. The essential needs of people
Essential needs like clothes, food, housing, transportation, and communication are fundamental to people. The real change in recent years is basically fulfilling these needs like shared bikes or personalised news distribution, rather than mere information revolution.
"Compared to innovation, we should focus more on exploiting our customer’s most essential needs. "
Take Fu Sheng’s personal experience for example, in early days he used to work as a customer service staff answering users’ questions, making phone calls etc. Fu Sheng had then realised that users had much more knowledge on computer than he would have imagined.
Fu Sheng believes that the reason for him to do so was not for resolving problems, but for learning from the customer to see exactly what they need. Through these fundamental works, Fu has gradually established his own understandings about customers. Many might demonstrate customer needs using statistic analysis or other means, but when you spend enough time observing and perceiving your customers, you are practically analysing them.
2. Industry tendency
When he was product manager, Fu Sheng’s definition of (good) products used to be "easy for customers to use". When he started his own business, however, he realised that the prevailing market tendency and the 'hotspot' were the most vital elements.
The conventional internet theory was to work to the ultimate on one feature, but Fu then found, if you cannot find the hot-spot, then the more you work to the ultimate, the sooner you fail.
Therefore, Fu started to pay close attention to industrial changes. He provided two prospects. Firstly, people has started looking for things that are easier to use, presenting characters, and more personal. Secondly, technology amalgamation, and when new technology emerges, new companies will be fostered. Most essential is that innovation is all about technology amalgamation and commercialisation, rather than how advanced the technology is.
Take Apple for an example. It combined microelectronics with computing technology, and music with portable devices. After the invention of mobile phone, Apple then bound mobile network with smart phone applications. That is how it has become a tech-giant.
The most essential part in business is competing for the recognition from customers which is extremely challenging if your competitors have already acquired it.
"Competitor is critical in innovation. "
No matter how good you are in doing what you do, if your competitors are already doing it, or at least close enough to what you do, then they pose obstacles.
Fu Sheng emphasise that we should use an evolutional mindset to search for opportunities. Only when your competitors accidentally leave you a crevice of opportunity and you see it can you have the chance for your business to grow.
So to sum up, when a tendency in an industry appears and you can identify customers’ essential needs, and when competitors accidentally leave you an opportunity crevice which is not easy to discover, then, it might be a chance for you to survive and thrive.
Translated by Jun Huai