Tuesday, 28 August 2007

That's Not Called Innovation

Great quote from Peter while talking about a particular company and what they are trying to do that they call innovation:

"That's not innovation - That's called improvement."

Got me thinking about how few companies and products really strive for and achieve true innovation. Innovation is a scary proposition and let’s face it, once companies try to minimize the risk by doing research, innovative products fail (Sony Walkman, Aeon Chair).

Innovation seems to me to be something that people tend to identify in retrospect. I think Blake Ross got it right. The next big thing isn't generally the brand new innovative thing. It's whatever makes that last big thing more usable. And that isn’t innovation. That’s improvement.


lead-dog said...

Improvement IS innovation. There are lots of ways to improve products. You can add novel features, you can integrate things that already exist (ex: features on cell phones), you can replace parts with new improved parts (like better batteries or screens). Over 90% of innovations are targeted at sustaining existing products rather than inventing new and different ones.

Julia Styles said...

I agree with leah-dog. Improvement and innovation are very similar. Wikipedia has a great definition of Innovation. Check it out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Innovation. It's very broad.

Leigh said...

Ok so your both right that that is the definition of innovation. And yes improvements can be considered innovation.

The point i was trying to make which wasn't all that clear (i'm going to blame the vacation Jet lag for being inarticulate this week) is that i'm feeling these days (and particularly in technology) that many announcements about products and services are starting to sound like ads for detergent. "new and improved crystals that burst to clean your clothes" and are calling that innovation when really, it's just the old crystals but now they burst instead of melt.

Know what i mean?

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