Zing International designed and developed the patented Zing Electronic Cricket Wicket System. The system is used around the world in professional broadcast cricket, and a range of replicas for home and club use is sold in retail, leveraging thousands of hours of free TV exposure of our branded TV technology.
Clarity of Purpose and Context
Zing management focus on design driven innovation in sports.
We continually strive to build on our understanding of sporting culture, from grass roots to professional level, players, umpires, administration, commercial, sponsorship and TV production.
We have a crystal clear understanding that a “Zing Product” adds value at all these levels. We focus on design driven products that: solve a problem, add to the understanding and excitement of the game, and are patentable. Therefore highly skilled design and engineering professionals are a crucial component of our business strategy. The Zings solve the problem of detecting on a TV replay when both ends of a bail lift from stumps per the laws of cricket. The flashing adds value to TV and stump sponsors, helping customers to pay a premium price. Our patented technology helps us build a profitable and enduring company. Our purpose is narrowly focussed which means it can be articulated clearly and simply at all levels to extract maximum value. Aligning the staff to the mission is an ongoing formal weekly and monthly activity. We hire people with the inherent qualities and provide them with purpose and a space to develop into, rather than pushing square pegs into round holes.
Customer and Market Immersion
It’s critical to thoroughly understand the needs and motivations of a sporting culture before prescribing technological innovations on it. Eg: We were confident The Zings would fit into all forms of cricket, but foresaw the risk of a backlash in the media from “Cricket Purists” to flashing wickets in a game steeped in tradition. We thoroughly market tested early prototypes and found virtually universal enthusiastic acceptance with all stakeholders. On launch in The Big Bash, The Zings were widely perceived in the media as a T20 product, however as predicted and modelled in our business plans, The Zings have proliferated throughout T20, 50 Over and Test Cricket. Enthusiasm for sport is a requirement in all roles in our organisation. We send our staff to stadiums to interact with TV production crews, cricket representatives, players, umpires and spectators.
The Zings Cricket Wicket has revolutionised adjudication of runout and stumping decisions, speeding up the game, eliminating controversial decision, and energises the crowd at moments of drama. In 2012, Fox Sports surveyed their viewers and The Zings were reported as the best aspect of the TV coverage. The value add of the technology is directly related to our understanding of the market.
Zing have formal discussions prior to and after tournaments with all stakeholders in the value chain and with our distributors and retailers of our consumer products. We have a number of enhancements and new products under development. We strive not to just respond to new changes but to proactively suggest where opportunites are presenting. Zing has a fundamental philosophy about challenging ourselves in new areas and that success is a never ending process of education and risk management. We pride ourselves on the ability to take on an appropriate amount of risk and manage the process so that if we fail, any financial loss is offset by the new knowledge that we gain to move forward.
Zing is developing a range of products in other sports. We have regular brainstorming sessions involving all people in the business to explore new opportunities, potential solutions and commercialisation models. We have a systematic system for filtering new ideas, examining the market requirements, product solutions and the business case prior to commissioning a new product development. Zings business model is fundamentally about producing disruptive products into sport.
The CEO of Zing, Bronte Eckermann, has 28 years of design experience in Australia, Silicon Valley and UK and has spent the majority of that time owning and running businesses with design at its core.
Bronte’s philosophy about design is that there are three levels of mastery: Firstly, design as an object. Second, design as a process. Thirdly, design as business strategy. As each step is attained, design increases in value to an organisation in a non-linear way. Zing’s fundamental business model is based on design as a business strategy.
The CEO’s responsibility to staff and shareholders is to create a highly professional environment with strategic design at its core, where we help employees achieve these levels of competency and ensure that Zing is a relentless machine delivering on our goals.
Our fundamental ethos is to deliver, because this is what breathes life into the mission statement. Management involve themselves in the design process and when heavy lifting is required, management are the first to arrive and the last to leave so that we lead by example. Lateral design-led thinking has found solutions to seemingly insurmountable commercial and technical problems at times of great urgency at critical moments in our company’s history.
Zing has struck extremely competitive agreements with cricket authorities around the world through our understanding of where the value lies for the individual stakeholders in world cricket outside of simply negotiating on price.
We own and hire out the Zings wicket in international sport, enabling us to charge ongoing premium fees and strike multiyear deals. This gives us security of income for business planning and means the equipment comes back to base for refurbishment and testing to ensure our product performs reliably and in the field, protecting our brand name on live TV.
Zing has invested in rapid prototyping technology to manufacture items in house to control quality and on time delivery of parts for tournaments with hard deadlines.
Where we use external consultants or suppliers, we bring them in house to experience working with our team, to impart on them the understanding we have of our market and the unique pressure points in our business.
Our staff have bonus packages and structured training programs so that we can define a career development path that motivates our employees and is in alignment with Zing’s goals and encourages them to go the extra yard.
The Zing Cricket Wicket Systems are owned by us and items are continually refurbished and parts recycled. We have a policy of designing items so that each individual item of a particular material can be disassembled from any other piece of a different material for recycling and refurbishment. We have a structured supplier appraisal process that requires suppliers to demonstrate evidence of their commitment to environmental protection. Products are appropriately marked with recycling symbols and are RoHS compliant.
Zing International has a policy of equal opportunity employment and we encourage diversity in the work place in terms of age, gender and race, because we think the potential to develop new ideas is maximised when you have a broad base of experience and viewpoints, all working toward the same goal.
A design culture in our business has assisted us to develop unique and patentable products that have generated broad and highly emotive support for our brand with an international cricket viewing audience of approximately 2 billion people, working out of a small office in Port Adelaide.
The way we work as designers is something that we employ commercially, from management to every day activities. The concept of looking at a problem and applying the same techniques of analysing and identifying the requirements and parameters, applying lateral and analytical thought to potential solutions, reviwing the possibilites, testing and implementing. The most valuable aspect has been the application of lateral probem solving techniques in the business which at crucial points in our companies history have solved seemingly insurmountable commercial and logistical problems.
Over the last 3 years, our export income has tripled.