Why Lumo Builds With Growers, Not Just for Growers
At Lumo, we don’t just build products for growers. We build products with growers.
We practice grower-led product development because we know growers have a deep understanding of the problems and challenges they face. Tapping into their firsthand knowledge and experience, into their insights and intuitions, is an essential part of building products that solve problems, work well in the field, and deliver exceptional results.
Our hardware and software would not exist the way they do today if it wasn’t for the feedback and guidance we’ve received through countless conversations with forward-thinking growers. They helped us understand what an irrigation automation solution needed to accomplish and how it needed to function to help them save their most precious resources: time, money, and water.
Why So Many “Solutions” Fail to Solve Anything
Technology providers trying to serve growers in the past have often put the cart before the horse. They come up with a new idea or get excited about a new technology, spend months or years building a product, and then they go out and try to sell it to growers.
But once the product actually gets into the hands of growers and installed in fields, they often learn a bunch of things that they wish they had known when they first started building. Reality is messy and complex. It’s easy to miss details that matter and overlook practical considerations that must be taken into account for the product to work as intended.
But at that point, the company is often too far down a path to go back and start over. What you end up with is a product that doesn’t really solve the problem it’s supposed to, or that gradually becomes a complicated mess of patches and add-ons that are desperately trying to get the job done.
At Lumo, we do things the other way around.
Instead of building a product and then asking for feedback, we first come up with an idea or a hypothesis, and then go talk to actual growers and see what they think. Before any schematic gets drawn or any line of code gets written, we’ve already spoken to the people who are going to use the product to make sure they think we’re on the right track and that we aren’t missing anything important.
When developing our Lumo One smart valve, for instance, the first thing we realized was that irrigation automation isn’t primarily about opening and closing valves remotely. That’s just one small piece of the puzzle.
Instead, we came to understand that our primary job is to give growers confidence that their irrigation plan is actually being executed. Our hardware and software are built from the ground up to allow growers to easily see exactly what’s happening with their irrigations. Accountability isn’t an afterthought-–it’s built-in.
That’s why each of our valves has a flow meter inside and it’s why each valve has the ability to wirelessly communicate that information to your laptop or phone, so you don’t have to go to the field to check on what’s happening.
Lumo is built differently than previous attempts at automation because we spoke to far too many growers who couldn’t trust their automation systems and were still spending countless hours walking their vineyards to look for leaks in their lines. Their automation wasn’t saving them time because it wasn’t built to solve the right problems.
We built software that makes scheduling irrigations incredibly easy, because we saw firsthand how complicated and time-consuming that task was with older controller-based automation systems that relied on outdated technologies.
In fact, we avoided creating a controller or base station altogether because we spoke with growers who were frustrated by the upfront expense of trenching in wires and hardwiring in valves and who hated their inability to easily add more valves without running out of ports and being forced to buy more controllers.
Great products are built by working with great customers
Customers are an integral part of the journey of building a product that actually solves a problem and works well in the real world.
Growers are the people who understand what matters when it comes to irrigation. They know how valves need to perform, they know what details are important for managing irrigation schedules, and they know what challenges still need to be overcome.
At Lumo, we believe in listening to them. Staying close to them. Spending time with them in the field. Asking them for feedback. Talking to them about what keeps them up at night. Building relationships with them in a spirit of camaraderie and with a genuine commitment to providing an unconventional level of support.
We believe in collaborating with our customers to constantly improve our products and to serve growers in better and better ways. We practice grower-led product development. We believe that the best products for growers are built with growers.
To all the growers who have helped us get this far, thank you. We look forward to working together on what comes next.