Ecologist using digital tablet surveying surface coal mine site, elevated view — Image by © Monty Rakusen/cultura/Corbis

I started randomly calling these, my Extreme Cases. If I’m working on a new product or service, I find that we have trouble justifying investment on a product development, unless we find an Extreme Case to justify it. An Extreme Case can be defined by different variables. But these ones are the most common to me:

  • Market Segmentation – (niche segment VS large segment)
  • Price Margin – (big VS low margins)
  • Environment – (Harsh VS soft environments)
  • Demographics

All the Extreme Cases I have been stumbling upon are usually on a harsh environment. The harsh environments can normally be found in the Mining industry, in the Oil&Gas industry or Marine industry (in these industries there are usually bigger value margins to be captured), but it can also be in remote areas of the world, like African or Australian backcountry disconnected from the grid, with difficult roads and/or far away from urban centers. Or finally some harsh environments in specific industrial settings with dust, or high/low temperatures, high humidity, etc.

An Extreme Use Case can also be characterised by small niche market segments that normally are under the radar of big market research firms and their reports, and we need to go out there to discover them.

Finally the Demographics can have a say in this characterisation, for instance elderly people that have specific needs, or young children, etc.

Usually the high margins come with some sort of combination of these extreme characteristics, or ALL of them at the same time.

Now, did you found your Extreme Case? not yet? playing in that field brings better chances of success upfront, it means that whatever product or service you are developing, hopefully is creating a big value and has a lot of utility to that consumer.