Zimmatic Blog

Customer-First Innovation Means Success in the Field

Jun 22, 2021

Customer-First Innovation Means Success in the Field

We all have lived through new product failures. Consider, for example, in 1985, when Coca-Cola announced it was changing its soft drink formula for the first time in 99 years and launched New Coke. Consumer uproar from a dedicated fan base forced Coke to bring back the original formula just 79 days after launch.

The lesson to take away here is whatever the product is, it should be about and for the end user. Success is a function of the market, not the CEO, product development gurus or the marketing department. If a new or upgraded product does not fulfill a market need or expectation, chances are it will be … New Coke’d.

“Lindsay’s product development process is based on a customer-first innovation approach, making our customers’ needs and desires a priority,” said Wade Sikkink, global director of product management at Lindsay. “We are driven to bring forward new technology, but not without direct input and extensive feedback from the field. Customers are the center of our circle of innovation.”

In November 2020, Lindsay announced a major breakthrough in center pivot functionality and performance. In other words, the irrigation system of the future: the world’s first smart pivot. The smart pivot will do much more than water crops; it will be uniquely positioned to provide growers with data and insights at scale, directly from the pivot.

Using sensors, high resolution imagery and enhanced algorithms, the smart pivot will detect problems such as nutrient deficiencies, pressures from pests and disease, and machine health issues. Think of it as a robot on alert 24/7, effectively seeing everything going on in every part of the field, instantly boosting growers’ ability to identify and correct issues before they become problems.

Initial design and prototype evaluation for the smart pivot included direct customer input to help enhance functionality, format and interface. Growers were asked to provide their impressions about the smart pivot capabilities and to help prioritize features that will most immediately simplify operations, increase yield, and save precious water and energy.

When asked for his reaction and input, Logan Govier of Glen Govier and Sons Inc. in Nebraska said, “Everything was exciting to hear about but, for us, the best feature was the more in-depth system health monitoring. Especially with shutdowns, it would be very handy to know which tower caused the shutdown and possibly pinpoint the exact reason without having to walk to the pivot to investigate.”

After viewing the smart pivot virtual demo, John Bustamante of Wysocki Produce Farm in Wisconsin commented, “The self-diagnostic tools that provide information on a range of issues that are labor-intensive to identify look fantastic. They have the potential to increase performance while also increasing the irrigation team's efficiency.”

Wanted: Your Feedback

As Lindsay continues to advance the development of the smart pivot features, customer feedback remains crucial.

“As part of our iterative and agile customer-first innovation process, prototyping and continuous customer feedback is extremely important to us,” said Michelle Marcuzzo, software product manager at Lindsay. “That’s why we took some time to develop a really immersive, representative experience to help bring the smart pivot to life.”

The smart pivot virtual experience is accessible via lindsay.com/smartpivot and gives users a virtual hands-on experience with the smart pivot’s many crop and machine health capabilities.

“You’ll be amazed at what this irrigation system of the future can do,” said Marcuzzo. “Please explore the demo and give us your feedback using the feedback button in the top righter corner of the demo screen. Your ideas and input will help us shape the future of the smart pivot and truly reflect what growers want and need.”