Innovation and what it means to me
When we think of innovation, we typically think of it in terms of the latest and greatest technology, such as the Iphone. But innovation exists in the most simplist of products. For example, I consider my Venus razor with built in shave gel bars so that I don’t have to use shaving cream innovative. I also consider closable pop cans innovative, but some may digress.
Companies tend to do one of two things: embrace innovation or wait for someone else to be innovative and copy what they have already done. Exhibit A: Tablets. When the Ipad was released, the market was inundated with a number of different tablets from different companies. But none of these tablets outperformed the Ipad or offer anything new. They were released solely to capitalize on this new market.
Coming up with something new and hi-tech doesn’t necessarily make it innovative. Its not about what the product IS but what it can DO. If there’s no practical application for it, then people aren’t going to adopt it into their lives. Cell phones, for example, have had a fascinating evolution. They started out as a small facet of our lives–merely a means of making a phone call when outside the home–to being completely integrated into almost every crevice of our lives. We use it to communicate, organize, track, locate, search, learn, entertain, manage, listen, watch, connect. Cell phones have gone from novelty to necessity.
I think people sometimes confuse being innovative with being inventive. Sometimes its less about creating something new and more about re-purposing things that already exist. Apple didn’t invent a lot of the technology they use in their products. They did, however, find relevant ways these technologies could be used to make consumers’ lives easier–it just took a little thinking outside of the box.