Superhero Tools Inspire Consumer – Centric Design


Think about all our familiar, modern superheroes: Superman, Spiderman, Batman, Ironman, and Wonder Woman. What differentiates them from others is, at least in part, a heroic attitude, let’s call it swagger.  All the movies that trace their exploits did an excellent job of taking us vicariously through their adventures, making us believe that just about anything was possible. They beat up the bad guys, catch the corrupt official red handed, and move seamlessly through the highest echelons of society.  The other key differentiator was the cool tech tools that let them back up their attitude. Iron man has his suit. Captain America and Wonder Woman sport a virtually indestructible high tech shield that protects from anything and everything, Dead-shot had his cool looking Augmented reality eyepiece, a signature trademark, to augment his already amazing marksman skills.

In our high-tech supply chains, product developers, engineers, and supply chain professionals engage in building the next generation of high tech devices. Too often, we focus on capabilities to the detriment of considering how it give the user superhero swagger.

If you think about it, part of the reason why people are buying these devices, is to look good. For example, Apple is the first smart watch maker to cash in on the idea that a watch is an emotional purchase and that people, particularly men, are likely to fall in love with shiny elegance.  Meanwhile, AR glass designs, such as Microsoft Holo lens, ODG Glass, and Recon heads up displays, remain clunky. It’s no wonder that Google Glass wearers were sometimes called the Glassholes. For these devices to get broader consumer adoption, they really need to add some swag to the wearer, make the wearer look cool and elegant.

Let’s look at an automotive example. TATA Motors in India launched a mini truck.  During their customer discovery process, it became clear that they needed a four-wheel design for the mini truck. A three-wheel design had a lot to recommended it, both working well and cutting expense. However, the potential customers, mostly young drivers, preferred a four-wheeler truck. Culturally, there was a perception that three wheels was less cool, too much like a simple auto rickshaw. It simply didn’t have the prestige that these young drivers wanted to impress potential spouses. A bride’s parents would happily get their daughter married to a driver that drove a truck with four wheels but not an auto rickshaw that had only three wheels.

So what are your thoughts on helping customer swagger with your products?  What designs make customers feel like a superhero when they wear or use your product? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

Puga Sankara is the co-founder of Smart Gladiator LLC. Smart Gladiator designs, builds, and delivers market-leading mobile technology for retailers, distributors, and 3PL service providers. SG LoadProof is a patent pending Centralized Enterprise Photo/Video Document System on Cloud for Supply Chain. SG LP is built on the fact that photos & videos are vital docs as important as POs/SOs/Legal Contracts/Fulfillment Orders that reside in ERP/WMS/TMS systems, that serve as compelling, conclusive, unequivocal proof of crucial, critical, vital operations executed in Supply Chain within/across orgs when fulfilling customer orders as well as meeting contractual obligations between orgs as merchandise is transferred between different parties that partake in Supply Chain functions & operations. And these photos/videos data should not be stored in someone’s Smartphone or Email Inbox or in their personal/work Computer, but should be stored in a Centralized Enterprise system, where such data can be pushed into super-fast, stored securely, accessible to all stake holders (CFO/Sales Reps/Customer Support/AR/AP) in an org, as well as facilitates super-fast retrieval/sharing. LP is an Enterprise System of record for Photo/Video docs & is as important as an ERP which is an enterprise system of record for POs, SOs, Legal Contracts between parties etc. that have huge legal ramifications, also as important as a WMS (Warehouse Management System) that hold indispensable shipment & fulfillment data on orders. Like how Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat etc. have evolved into social media platforms/systems that enable individuals to showcase their beauty/pretty clothes/lovely cosmetics/hep coolness etc., LoadProof is an Enterprise system that holds similar photos/videos, but for a different reason, not for show off, but to serve as compelling, conclusive, unequivocal & indisputable system of record and proof that can be presented even in the court of law, when there is a dispute between parties while they execute many facets of the Supply Chain functions & operations. Puga is a supply chain technology professional with more than 25 years of experience in deploying capabilities in the logistics and supply chain domain. His prior roles involved managing complicated mission-critical programs driving revenue numbers, rolling out a multitude of capabilities involving more than a dozen systems, and managing a team of 30 to 50 personnel across multiple disciplines and departments in large corporations such as Hewlett Packard. He has deployed WMS for more than 30 distribution centers in his role as a senior manager with Manhattan Associates. He has also performed process analysis walk-throughs for more than 50 distribution centers for WMS process design and performance analysis review, optimizing processes for better productivity and visibility through the supply chain. Size of these DCs varied from 150,000 to 1.2 million SQFT. Puga Sankara has an MBA from Georgia Tech. He can be reached at [email protected] or visit the company at Also follow him at