Is Innovation Missing Its Purpose ? Often The Answer Is Yes; Health Clubs Should Take Note

I've referenced Brian Solis before. During a recent interview with (famous in tech circles) Jesse James Garrett (below) he explores the notion of innovation and user (aka customer) experience. Garrett is a thought leader in the emerging world of user experience (UX) and wrote the book The Elements of User Experience (check it out). Leaders in the health club and fitness industries should take heed. Here are some exerpts (paraphrased):

Innovation often comes from Gorilla Movements in organizaitons that bubble up to people at the top.....Is Innovation missing its purpose ? Quite often it is....People that are really good at user experience and innovation are good at distinguishing "Innovation" from "Novelty".

Its very hard for leaders to see what is coming, given the rate of change today. So I thought the Solis interview came at the perfect time, following my read of the @IHRSA Club Business International , article Fresh Face of Fitness. In that article my friend and colleauge Rasmus Ingerslev, CEO of Wexer and Health Club chain Fresh Fitness was deservedly featured. Here's a slice of the article on Rasmus Ingerslev:

Just as in any other industry, ours keeps evolving faster and faster. In the process, competition is intensifying. As a result, there will likely be even more segmentation, which will create clear value propositions in the niche, low-, mid- and high-end markets. On the positive side, I believe this will help attract more members, growing the overall market. My concern is that we’ll see bubbles in segments that grow too fast, specifically the low-cost sector, and collapses in the middle-market. The latter may be the toughest position, as it’s at risk of being viewed as neither fowl nor fish. But, as in any industry, there will always be room for best-in-class.

In a business where many leaders are still focusing on differentiation in simple ways, more forward thinking pros like Rasmus are combing new delivery methods and customer service models that are completely different (live group classes and digitally deliivered classes are an example). I think what Rasmus says is very on target. His vision reflects what its going to take to achieve success in the fitness and health club industry in the years ahead. Deeply understanding customers and their emerging needs are critical to success in the future. Unfortunately many in the business think novelty is innovation and they will soon discover how wrong they were to do so. This is particularly true when it comes to blending bricks and mortar and digital technology solutions as Rasmus has.

Watch the interview below with Brian Solis and Jessse James Garrett as they discuss UX. Congrats to my friend Rasmus Ingerslev for his success and vision. What do you think about Fresh Fitness and Wexer ? Do you see this type of innovation as more than a novelty ? How do you think leading brands could improve UX ? Please share your views with me, Bryan O'Rourke. Thanks for your thoughts.

About the author:

Bryan O’Rourke is a health club industry expert, technologist, financier, shareholder and executive in several fitness companies. He consults with global brands, serves as a member of the GGFA Think Tank, is Chair of the Medical Fitness Association’s Education Committee, is President of the Fitness Industry Technology Council and a partner in Fitmarc, Integerus, Fitsomo and the Flywheel Group. To learn more contact Bryan here today .