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Keeping up the innovation

March 11, 2019

flowhive6After the incredible initial success of the Flow Hive, it’s great to see further, more subtle innovation has been taking place to give the product ongoing commercial viability.

When it was released on Indiegogo around this time four years ago, Flow Hive became one of the most successful crowdfunding campaigns in history – but the Flow Hive team struggled to cope with the unexpected flood in demand.

Last week I put together my first Flow Hive 2 and, while the core invention – the Flow Frame – has remained unchanged, the updates are a really good illustration of what innovators need to do to keep ahead and be responsive to customer feedback.

Since getting one of the original crowdfunded hives, even the unboxing experience and packaging has been refined. A lot of thought has been put into minimising the overall box size to keep storage and shipping costs down, despite the Flow Hive 2 having a more complex design than the original hive. And they have used environmentally-friendly materials and incorporated information onto the packaging, as well as in the instruction manual.

flowhive2.jpg

Also, since the launch of the original product Flow Hive has switched to a local manufacturer for the timber components, and you can really see this in the quality of the parts and precision of the laser cuts. They have also thought through the customer’s flat pack build experience, not just with the detailed steps in the manual, but also in marking each of the pieces of timber very clearly, so you don’t use a wrong part during construction (which happened to me on one of my earlier hives!).

flowhive5

Finally, all the functional improvements made to the hive design are more than just cosmetic. They address usability issues on the original design: including an additional viewing panel, better and more durable base and fittings, adjustable legs and a harvesting shelf.

The thing is, that despite the time that the Flow Hive has been in the market and the amount of attention it has received, there is still a lot of work to do to promote beekeeping and sell the product. There was intense interest in the Flow Hive at last weekend’s Canberra Region Beekeepers Field Day, but hobby and small-scale beekeepers currently still represent a tiny proportion of the world’s population.

Hopefully, the team at Flow Hive continues to innovate, continues to respond to customer feedback and ultimately continues to encourage more people to take up beekeeping.

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