Steven Gradidge. Hi :)

Innovation Through Understanding

Posted on: November 25, 2011

It is a very interesting time indeed. Mobile phones are getting smaller. Hard drives are getting bigger. Budgets are becoming more granular with a firm necessity in ROI. Expectations and requirements are changing to pretty much whatever direction the wind is blowing. It is a tough time to ‘innovate’. With the Internet as the vehicle, technology driving and social media as the worthy passengers, it is a great time to be in the online industry.

I always try to learn and improve my existing knowledge. I sometimes seem to be one of the few that firmly believe that everything is worth knowing to some degree (just in case of that obscure pub quiz question). In an evermore interconnected world filled with technologies, platforms and user groups, this becomes an even bigger issue. A high tide raises all ships and as such, from one innovation leads another.

An innovative product resonates into innovation. Innovation is the result in behaviour change from that product launch to use. I’ll explain with probably the best example available; the iPhone. The iPhone is far more than a very well designed (aesthetically most notably) mobile phone handset. It has become the benchmark by:

  • Supporting a whole industry of mobile phone accessories
  • Supporting whole industries of software developers (games, software) via facilitating a channel of content distribution (iOS App Store)
  • Creating a new revenue stream for news institutions and online journalists
  • Becoming the de facto in mobile internet usage (A little lie here perhaps…)

The iPhone (for those who have read the Steve Jobs biography will know better) paved the way for innovation. It is why companies like Apple, Google and Nike, the real innovators of today, are being given the credit for riding and leading the innovation wave. They don’t just merely produce lots of new services and products for people to use but they see how their services and products will benefit the people’s lives that use them. Thinking one step ahead. Creating the future instead of being part of it.

This is the mantra I push on my clients. Think how people will be using their website, product or services in a year’s time/5 years/10 year’s time. The likes of Apple/Google/Nike already know the answers to these questions. The execution of technology is essential but not primary. Understanding the place of that technology and the context of its environment allows businesses have a better idea of how to answer these questions.

A leader leads the pack. An innovator leads the way.

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