Display Systems International

Founded in Saskatoon Saskatchewan in 1983, Display Systems International manufactures and markets industry-leading software for public and private cable networks. Their software is used to develop various products including photo advertising channels, hotel television networks, and TV listings channels. Innovation is central to their business as they work to develop new products to meet the changing demands of the cable industry.

What motivates DSI to innovate?

The company's customer-oriented approach drives their continuous focus on innovation. Even from the initial business concept, founder Dale Lemke recognized the role consumer demand must play to ensure success in the cable industry. The business idea for DSI stemmed from a question posed to Lemke by a potential customer: why can't someone develop a software program that allows cable networks to develop channels on a personal computer instead of using specialized hardware? This question led Lemke to consider whether or not such an innovation was possible and eventually resulted in his creation of DSI.

The innovative mindset that led to the creation of DSI in 1983 has remained central to the company's operations over the last thirty years. Consumer demand continues to inspire product, service and marketing innovations within the company. As Lemke states, "You always need to be looking for what's next. What's the next thing in the next 5-10 years that we can be doing to meet our customer's needs?"

What is DSI's approach to innovation?

DSI relies upon customer pull when they consider the development of a new product. The company maintains strong relationships with their customers, which allows them to build upon new ideas and questions their clients pose. When a new concept is presented, DSI uses a three-step process to consider its potential: analysis, survey, and profitability potential.

Initially, DSI analyzes the potential of a new product. They determine whether or not they have the capacity to create the product and whether initial estimates indicate that they can make money developing and selling the product. The second step in the company's process allows them to survey potential customers to determine if there is market demand for the product. A survey allows the company to test a recommended idea and DSI's initial estimates to determine the market size of a new concept. Finally, they compile their analysis to determine whether data from Steps One and Two indicate that the product will reach profitability within 3 - 6 months. The software industry is fast paced, and the company relies on all three steps ensure new product ideas meet the needs of the marketplace.

What is DSI's Saskatchewan advantage?

For DSI, operating in Saskatchewan is not about maintaining close proximity to their customers. Over 80% of their customers are located in the United States, but in the software industry, the location of their head office does not matter. For Dale Lemke, locating the business in Saskatchewan was a personal preference. With thirty years of experience operating in the province, he believes that Saskatchewan is a great place to live, work, raise a family, start a business, and grow a company.