How do we best judge innovation? Particularly technological innovation?Messenger Boys

How do we best judge innovation? Particularly technological innovation? We know that the consumer landscape is littered with the burning remains, destroyed hulks and shattered shells of the latest and greatest, absolutely most important, game changing, paradigm shifting, life enhancing, quantum leaping, mind altering technologies, devices and other “stuff” that we all needed more than the air we breathe.

Truth is – every month – I still see a few purveyors of such. People convinced that what they have in hand will revolutionize the world – and in particular the marketing world – or more to the point – the marketing world is critical to making sure that the average Jane and Joe are apprised of what they now need to get on in the world…

The subtext of course is that if we don’t get on the bandwagon, we will get left behind…in the dust…become a mere footnote to marketing history as the visionaries pass us by.

HELP!!!! What do we do??????

As start, I’d remember the Walkman – worth looking up its history – the idea brought to GE and turned down before SONY realized its potential.

Simply put – the American company laughed at the preposterous idea that anyone would buy a tape recorder that didn’t record and even more laughable that they would walk in the streets wearing earphones…

The Japanese company obviously did not have the same bias – cultural; national or otherwise and the rest is history – Zune and iPod the latest iterations.

When I saw the following, it lit all my light bulbs:

The Americans have need of the telephone, but we do not. We have plenty of messenger boys.
~Sir William Preece

The lesson?
Next time you hear an idea – don’t evaluate it through the “messenger boys” filter. It might not work for you – today…or ever – but maybe it does elsewhere – or will lead you to another idea that will work.

It’s a little scary – as no one wants to miss the next big one – but you can also drown in the next big irrelevant one….

Just remember – no messenger boys….

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