Do You Need A Faster Horse, Or Real Innovation?
We often look to consumers for the answers, but are they really equipped to do more than help us define problems?
Getting a lot of airplay lately is the Henry Ford example where it’s posed that if he had asked people what they wanted, they would’ve said a faster horse. Instead, he discerned they wanted to get from A to be B faster in comfort and so the Model T Ford came into existence.
It’s important to look for inspiration from lots of sources and similarly to sense check your ideas with appropriate context.
We talked with an industrial designer this week David Francis at D3 Design who gave us the great example of innovation in salted chips. Take the standard plastic chip bag, innovated into the foil pack for fresher and crisper tasting chips. But then came Pringles. How cool is that? Layering chips on top of one another in a cylinder. Instant game changer. Chips suddenly became a premium, sophisticated grown up indulgence. At least for Pringles anyway.
And then there’s the Sony’s, Apple’s and Virgin’s of the world.
The need for innovation has never been stronger. Home brands, globalisation, mini-preneurs, fragmentation and so on mean that the landscape has changed forever and will continue to do so.
But brands need to be the ideas leaders; clients and agencies have the opportunity to innovate and add value beyond the expected. Not a new flavour, or an extra blade, but something truly valuable and something the man on the street is unlikely to come up with.
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