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Innovation Success

“Anything that won’t sell, I don’t want to invent. Its sale is proof of utility, and utility is success.” – Thomas Edison

All to often, innovation is seen to be the most important part of the business model, but it is not until the innovation has become so routine and entrenched in everyday life that it is truly successful. I have said in a previous post truly significant innovations even after a short time will appear to be invisible and mundane, and they should.

So if you are an innovative person make sure you work alongside people who are able to commercialize what you do. It may mean that you have to give up some control and share profit.

Keep innovation happening, but be realistic in the commercialization potential of the creation you have just made.

Paul S Allen

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Social Networking the Next Stage

For about a year or so, every time you watch the news you hear something about the effect that twitter is having on the world or how facebook is being used to break stories. This is great but what will happen next?

Already I have heard of people getting tired and bored with social networking.

This is how it should be, through history new inventions, ways of communication, and technologies have come and seemingly disappeared. Much of it, however, still exists, but because it is entrenched in every day familiarity we fail to notice it.

How many of us still marvel at the copper wire technology that carries our voice to a another person using a simple telephone? Yet how would we survive without this truly remarkable innovation. We take it for granted.

The next stage for social networking is normalization and integration into everyday lives and situations, whether at work, home, or wherever.

No longer will it be an organisation having a single twitter or facebook account (or whatever the next incarnation is). When years ago, organisations used to have a single telephone in the building  and now have at least one on every desk (I have three on my desk at work plus my personal mobile phone); so, I believe, the next step will be each member of staff should be using these networks as communication tools just the same as the copper wire telephone we now have.

Should it be mundane?… Yes

Invisable and unremarkable?… Yes

Even routine?… Again YES absolutely.

It is only when innovation, including social networking, becomes so routine and integrated in our business systems so we don’t notice we are using it that it will be of full benefit.

Never stop innovating, but don’t just gloat in the glory of the newest “shiny thing” work to make it part of ordinary everyday lives where we will say “how did we ever live without it?”.

The moment an innovative product becomes so routine it is not noticed or acknowledged is the moment it is truly successful.

Paul S Allen

Celebrate the Ordinary – Innovation to the Mundane

Celebrate the Ordinary – Innovation to the Mundane

At what point does an innovation become infrastructure and the spectacular become mundane?

How much of life and the world around us do we take for granted, for example the radio alarm clock that wakes you up in the morning, the toaster and electric jug that helps you with breakfast, the car on the way to work, the computer, email, the microwave that heats up your lunch, or even the ball point pen you write with. These were all spectacular innovations that, at some stage, set the world on fire (in the case of the toaster sometimes literally).

What was life like without these innovations and what would it be like if they suddenly disappeared?

At some stage in the life cycle of every great invention or innovation it will become an expectation or an infrastructure, forgotten about, and even treated as mundane and routine. It would appear that the most significant innovations of the last 100 years have become so routine that we cannot name the inventor.

Truly significant innovations even after a short time will appear to be invisible, and they should. We turn on a switch and the light goes on, we don’t even think about it we just expect the electricity to flow through an electrical circuit and make a small glass bulb glow. Hardly a thought goes to Thomas Edison’s 10,000 attempts to make it work.

Often significance is invisible and silent. The true greatness of innovation is not measured by awards and plaudits but by silent entrenchment as infrastructure.

The routine and the ordinary make the world go round.

Appreciate and celebrate the ordinary, because at some stage in the not to distant past it was amazing.

Paul S Allen

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