Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Pure-Play is dead! - It's always frustrating to see so called pure-play technology companies try to convince corporate would-be clients that Innovation is, at the heart of it, a very simple process - that it is simply being overly complicated by consultants. When will they learn that this subject is NOT about the technology. In fact - business and commerce as a whole is not about technology anymore.

Be it consumer electronics or business software, the leading products in each industry lead by adding value to the customer to give them an advantage/benefit above and beyond what is possible with just the technology alone. Take the iPod - one of the most cited innovation examples in recent history. At the heart of it, it's really not more than a glorified hard drive. What it's added however, is a clever design and some superb marketing to give status and desire that other companies focusing on sellign a technology alone simply aren't able to compete. That's not to say that the other technologies don't work - but they certainly don't deliver the level of benefit (in this case, coolness, status factor, etc) that the iPod delivers to its customers. People are making a big deal of the VideoPod now - but how many realise that Apple was not the first one to the market with this product? Creative, for example, have had a video offering for quite some time, yet were unable to make it as useable and desireable as Apple have been able to in one stroke.

The same goes for innovation software. The technology itself is, at least on the face of it, not exactly rocket science from a layman's point of view. Get some kind of input into a collaborative space, followed by an evaluation piece and see what comes out - right? Sounds really simple - but when it comes down to actual useage - the above system would fail abysmally. Why? Because the process isn't as simple as it seems - every company has different needs, different aims, and different cultural issues that will affect what can/can't be done. Not only that, but you have to then understand that innovation is, at the heart of it, a people issue - and people are anything but "simple".

So don't let pure-play technology companies pull the wool over your eyes. Any company that tells you that innovation is "simple" is just hiding their lack of understanding of the issues that you will face - which means you'll be on your own when the inevitable problems start happening. There are several reputable companies out there that understand this - so make sure to quiz whoever you use as to the depth of their understanding of the subject as the only thing "simple" about innovation - is how easy it is to screw it up....

1 comment:

Howard Smith said...

I agree. Innovation process is not simple, but has to be made simple for users. Simple collaboration tools won't cut it. Not at all.