I have to admit that I have a soft spot for anything Scooby Doo. So after watching every episode at least 20 times with my kids, I learned with great delight that a new series of Scooby Doos have emerged on the Cartoon Network. We’ve watched all the new episodes so far. I really want to say that I love them but they fall a little short in my book. I really wish they just stuck with the formula that works and modernized it. The last time the creators of Scooby Doo tried improving the show we got Scrappy.
Here’s what’s different about the new series:
- The episodes are based in their home town.
- You get to meet their extended family.
- There is way more mature content around dating, crushes, etc.
I don’t really mind the first two changes but the third is horrible. It’s not that I’m a prude, but I really can do without the Scooby, Thelma and Shaggy love triangle. Every time a scene comes on where Thelma is flirting with Shaggy, I want to throw up a little in my mouth. Those sub-plots are about as interesting as me picturing my parents in bed together. GROSS. It adds nothing to the enjoyment of the show..if anything, it subtracts a lot.
Let’s hope that someone at the show is getting feedback from parents and kids and they adjust as the series progresses. I still love the franchise, so I’m hoping for the best.
Good thing there’s Phineas and Ferb to watch instead. That show is pure genius. I particularly love Baljeet, their Indian computer programmer friend.
Improving a Business Model
This whole thing got me thinking about new product introductions and what a tight rope the new product development cycle can be sometimes. On the one hand, you need to innovate to keep products fresh and current. On the other hand, if you diverge too far from your core competency, you run the risk of alienating your existing customer base. In fact, many bands are guilty of that too.
So what to do?
- Ask for Customer Feedback – sometimes customers know exactly what they want to stay the same vs change. I’m a big believer of using customer feedback as the basis for new product launches.
- Have a test period if possible – fast food joints do this all the time when they test market certain products before spending all the capital to roll them out to all the stores.
- Test the Concept on a Shoestring Budget- I can’t tell you how many times we’ve cobbled things together at work to test a theory. When you’re inventing things or fixing complex problems, you usually have to fail quite a bit before you succeed. It’s best if you minimize the cost of those iterations.
- If your idea is a flop, have a back up plan. Whenever I do any project planning, I always try to imagine the best and worst case scenarios and plan accordingly.
I’m sure there are many other items to add to this list, but for now, those are the first ones that come to mind.
Do you have examples where the “new improved” version of something was actually worse than the previous model?
Here are some good links to refresh your memory:
25 Biggest Product Flops – From the Smith and Wesson Mountain Bike to Cosmopolitan Yogurt.
21 Biggest Technology Flops – Remember the Apple Newton..I barely do, but it was supposed to compete with the Palm Pilot.
7 Biggest Food Flops – I can’t say that I recall Cocaine Soda, but I vaguely remember 3D Doritos.