An intelligent product in the German culture goes beyond fulfilling its purpose as a tool or instrument. An intelligent product thinks with, in the sense of anticipating how a human being puts that product to work. An intelligent product is more than just the extension of its user. It can, and should, in some cases anticipate its user.
For Americans products are meant to be tools or instruments. An intelligent product makes work and life easier. It expands possibilities. Intelligent products execute precisely the commands of the user. No more, no less. Most importantly, an intelligent product is easy to use. It is intuitively understood.
Germans consider many American products to be simple, unsophisticated, not cutting edge. And unintelligent products, in their own way, can be insulting to the customer. In Germany intelligent people develop intelligent products.
Germans products are quite sophisticated. But often German engineering is associated with over-engineering, which is partly based on being not fully oriented on the needs of the customer. And Americans consider that to be not very intelligent.
Advice to Germans and Americans
Engage with your German colleagues about what makes a product truly intelligent. How much technology and sophistication should be incorporated? But also, about what the market is demanding? Including to what extent you consciously choose to go beyond the expectations of the market. Is an intelligent product a technical product or a product which gains market share and/or is profitable?