Innovation is also about what you don’t do


When Innovation is mentioned it always makes you think of disruptive or incremental change which then drives sales or increases consumption however one thing that is rarely accepted as Innovative is the removal of services or technology.  Most companies tend to keep their head in the sand with this and pay the extra costs to support an aging offering rather than to cannibalise their existing product lines for the good of everyone.  However sometimes having the power of your convictions for the greater good of the market not only increases customer perception but also allows for additional innovation. A glass half full is always better than one half empty.

There are numerous types of removal which are necessary ranging from the need to move the Industry forward, new standards set with counteract your products future and following a failed innovation.

The recent release of the Apple iPhone 7 showed this with the removal of the headphone socket where the media focussed on the loss rather than the benefits which were due to the increased space being available inside the body of the Mobile Phone.  The headphone jack has surprisingly been around since 1964 so maybe it was overdue for removal. However sometimes its better to move the market rather than sweat technology way beyond its useful life.  Just think of the auto industry, the engines and designs are constantly refreshed which are not that visible but how long was it before the cassette player was changed to the CD, the FM radio to DAB and manual controls or dials to touch screen and LED.

Some change can also just be cultural and cost nothing however even this can perceptionally move the dial.  In the UK to receive fixed line broadband you have to pay a line rental charge which is never mentioned in the cost of broadband.  This year Vodafone is advertising that it has abolished the line rental where in effect it has just increased the Broadband cost by the cost of the line rental, so even though it costs nothing,  more transparency is can also be seen as innovative.

In this new digital era Innovation should cover everything from Automation to Eradication  as by only doing both will you leverage the greatest economies of scale.


CES 2015 and Changes to the Car Industry

Every January Las Vegas hosts the Consumer Electronics Show and this year was no different. 2015 was the largest in CES history with more than 170,000 attendees (45,000 came from outside the United States) and around 3,600 exhibitors demonstrating their products. Arguably the biggest showstoppers this year were the cars ranging from see-through frames to self-driving technology. One of the more impressive examples was the Mercedes-Benz’s forward-thinking autonomous concept car. You may however be thinking why out of all the products demonstrated I am focusing on the cars? The reason is that not only are Car manufacturers starting to step up to show that they are technology companies (Hyundai was demonstrating Augmented Reality 3D Gesture Controls) but the changes expected over the next decade could change the way we travel and also ripple through the whole global economy.

It is predicted that by 2017 Autonomous Assisted Cars could become mainstream (the car assesses the road ahead and can make changes like breaking when it perceives a crash is possible through anti-collision systems) and by 2025 Autonomous Cars will arrive. So what will this mean? Imagine in only 10 years time instead of every household owning one or two cars people have started to embrace self driving cars and now rent them. Whenever you go out you call a car and it takes you to your destination and leaves. You then call again to get picked up (it would be the evolution of the personalised taxi without the chat) however just think, less cars would be purchased affecting the manufacturers and parts supply chain. Local Authority revenues would plummet with less speeding tickets and no need for parking. If these cars were electric the oil industry would feel the pinch and of course the whole Car Insurance industry would have to change. This may only be a provocation and estimation by the futurists however I don’t think most industries have considered the possibilities of this, should it become a reality. This change would have the same impact felt by horses with the introduction of the motorcar. Makes you think doesn’t it.