Most members own BOSE products, and the noise cancellation head sets have become an essential travel companion. In our hero powered network we wondered “How does BOSE maintain it’s leadership position and continues to develop great products?”.
Here are some clues we found;
BOSE website; “But maybe the most important principle we live by is that innovation is not a destination, but a journey requiring new ideas from new players. So we invite creators, inventors, dreamers and talented people from all walks of life to bring their big ideas, passion and enthusiasm to Bose. See how you can be part of our innovation.”
The origin of the company lies with the founder’s passion to create better sound, Dr. Bose: “1956: The passion for better sound begins
Dr. Bose celebrates earning his PhD by buying himself a new hi-fi. Though he chooses the system based on his analysis of specifications, the sound quality of the winning design disappoints him. His curiosity about the discrepancy compels him to study and research acoustics at MIT in his spare time.“
Bose headphones are worn today by professional pilots and have been worn by space shuttle astronauts. Its car audio systems have been factory-installed in luxury brands such as Maserati and Maybach. And it still sells updated versions of its first product, the Bose 901 speaker. CNBC
One way the company achieved it’s technology leadership position is by staying a private company; “Bose was fond of saying that if he had been a public company CEO, he would have been fired several times over.
He once said, “If I tell you that ‘better’ inspires fear — that even in the corporate world, people are scared of something better, you’d say that’s ridiculous; everybody wants something better. Well, something better is always different. It isn’t possible to make something better that isn’t different. Whatever it is, if it’s exactly the same, it isn’t better. So it’s the ‘different’ that scares people. When something’s different, it’s a heck of a gamble. And that’s where ‘courage’ comes in.” CNBC
The Innovation Excellence team identified these 5 success criteria:
1) R&D overdrive: To date, Bose remains a privately held company that enjoys the freedom of unparalleled R&D advantage, unlike its rivals that are more often than not accountable to share markets, venture capitalists and federal regulators. This enabled Bose to plow its profits back into R&D, capital investments and product developments to ensure company growth, contrary to what a listed company would do.
2) Maverick ideas: Bose remains uncompromising in taking to market maverick ideas, not pursued by competition, to create products of style with exceptional quality. This is evident from its Bose® Direct/Reflecting® technology, Acoustic Waveguide® technology and the more recent Bose® Suspension System for luxury cars. The focus was clearly on well-understood breakthrough technologies. In addition, the company itself started with a few MIT students and went on to hire people who believed steadfastly in technology. Passion and honesty in the workforce helped Bose drive away fear from competition and concentrate on winning technologies.
3) Understanding consumers’ unspoken motivation: Where products are typically created to meet perceivedcustomers’ needs, Bose took the leap to figure out what people would love to have but never even thought to ask and then went ahead to find the technology, develop the product and bring it to market so that people know about it and appreciate it.
4) Advertising lifestyle, not product: Bose prides itself in its differentiated communications approach to advertising and marketing its products/technologies. Instead of boasting of what it has, the advertising materials are focused on the message of something different and special inside the product, aimed at getting people’s attention.
5) Simplicity: A key differentiator in Bose’ systems is the discernible simplicity – easy to understand what it does, not how it does it and easy to use – departing from myths such as more buttons and knobs, complicated wiring and multi-component systems. Inevitably, Bose targets a niche market willing to pay a premium price for its products. Yet, within this segment, in order to have lots of people use the product, it had to make the products usable by lots of people.