The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

There Is No Post Today …
February 6, 2013, 6:10 am
Filed under: Comment

… except for the fact I’ve written a post that say’s there is no post.

It’s a bit like brands that tell the World they’re new, when the fact is we know when something’s new by the simple fact we’ve never seen or heard about them before.

I know that’s not strictly true, but neither is the belief that to make someone pick something up, you just have to print the word ‘NEW’ on the packaging in a size 40, startburst.

Mind you, they could be doing it because their product isn’t really new at all … it’s just a copy of another brand with a slight change to ensure they don’t get sued.

Sadly today, many companies view innovation the same way as Hollywood … which is less about trying – or doing – something never done before and more about ‘imitating’ or ‘perfecting’ something that society either thought was fine as it was or didn’t care enough about it in the first place.

And we all know why that’s the case. The misguided belief that safety in approach results in safety of profit … but even if that was true [which it isn’t] the stock market operates on such fucked up beliefs, that even small and regular profit increases are viewed as failure.

I saw this comment by Bob Bogash – a retired Boeing engineer – that I think sums what I’m trying to say perfectly:

Ages ago I wrote a post asking if we had, as a society, stopped innovating and were just about perfecting.

Not because of a lack of ability, but because of the structure of society/finance we had created.

I got slagged off for that and yet, I still think it remains true. At least in terms of brands and products. [I can’t find it, but this one also conveys my point/concern]

Of course the counter argument is that we have become more effective in maximising revenue returns in what we’ve got – which is true – however as Apple are starting to realise, when you start to only look inwards rather than outwards, the future eventually looks a little less bright.

Anyway, I really am not here today, that was not just some fancy blog post title.

No, honestly I’m not.

This is another of those ‘pre-written’ posts and the only reason I’m telling you this is so you don’t think …

[1] I’ve gone into a massive sulk.

[2] had a heart attack.

… when I don’t reply to any comment you make.

Not that you’d notice anyway.

Or care.

Which proves the point of this post. Some things never change. Boom Tish.

28 Comments so far
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You write better posts when you’re not here.

Comment by DH

Your point about innovation is good but perhaps it needs to be more specifically defined.

The reason I say this is because there is a lot of innovation happening but not necessarily in the categories the general public see or experience on a daily basis.

Medicine, science, technology, engineering, all these have significant innovation on a regular basis, innovation that has a major impact on what is possible. Though I agree the pressure on the companies undertaking this R&D to hit earning forecasts could/does impact their approach, commitment or ambition.

I believe the issue you are talking about is the lack of innovation in mainstream, consumer products where brands tend to hype up slight improvements as revolutionary innovation or, as you said with your Hollywood analogy, focus on mimicking products that have already achieved a level of popularity to drive revenue with minimum risk or effort.

Comment by Pete

This would sound a lot more impressive if you weren’t going on about those internet glasses every time I saw you.

Comment by DH

The glasses are fantastic, wait till you try them, then you’ll see. But what about our driverless car. Surely that impresses Mr Petrolhead.

Comment by Pete

When I said “then you’ll see”, that was not meant to be a pun.

Comment by Pete

You get the same experience with something called a taxi. And they’ll talk/insult you for no extra cost.

Comment by DH

Pete, are you saying that companies should only launch revolutionarily new products and services or that when they launch slight improvements they should market them honestly as “slightly improved” or “a little bit better than the stuff we’ve already sold you”?

Comment by John

No, of course not. I am just saying that the marketing hype that goes along with these slight innovations is potentially stopping companies from having bigger ambitions because they believe they can get away with less dramatic leaps of change.

Comment by Pete

I would say it also ends up stopping people from believing (or valuing) the innovation that the companies promote through its ads. Not all obviously, but definitely some.

Comment by Pete

Hasn’t hurt Samsung has it.

They mistake novelty shit for innovation. But then apple mistake duplication with a new name as innovation. (Sorry Baz)

Comment by DH

I wonder if that’s a reason for the high percentage of product failures (and I also wonder if that percentage has increased over time – anyone know?).

But, on the other hand, it’s not the hype that reduces corporate ambition, it’s our willingness to accept what we’re given.

Comment by John

If there’s a high percentage of product failures, wouldn’t it suggest we’re not that willing to accept them? Well, unless its technology and your name happens to be Robert Campbell.

Comment by Pete

I was wondering that myself, but the fact that total consumer purchases continue on a generally upward trend (despite the inevitable lack of an endless stream of true innovation) maybe argues against that.

And while I agree wholeheartedly with George’s point about societal myopia when it comes to appreciating our standard of living, I’d also point out that genunine innovation has always been rarer than we imagine.

Comment by John

Poor Baz.

Comment by Pete

Don’t worry Bazza, I’m sure when apple announce the new iBlackboard, all this talk about your companies lack of innovation will be put to rest.

Comment by DH

Sorry Baz, but you must admit this is funny. Especially for David.

Comment by Pete

Good post Robert. I definitely agree there are brands who use the word “innovation” as a marketing term rather than as an internal ambition or goal. In their defence, society has been so blessed with innovation significance that unless a product directly and unquestionably impacts and improves their life and lifestyle, they either fail to realise what has been achieved or worse, dismiss it as meaningless.

Comment by George

So it’s everyone else’s fault? Once a planner always a planner.

Comment by Billy Whizz

Why hasn’t anyone mentioned campbell is away again. It’s only the 2nd month of 2013 and he’s already had one holiday a month. New year, same Rob habits.

Comment by Billy Whizz

Not a holiday this time.

Comment by John

Is he in Nottingham being interviewed for the Forest job?

Comment by Danny Earle

That’s entirely possible. He’s a groupie for tragedy.

Comment by DH

I am unsure whether Robert meant this post to be about the hype of innovation or the suppression of it. Having read the comments it would appear that like beauty, people believe innovation is in the eye of the beholder.

Good post and comments.

Comment by Lee Hill

He’ll claim both but we know it was neither.

Comment by John

So when I’m not here you not only decide to stay on topic but have a genuinely good debate. Well I’m back so you can all return to normal now.

On the bright side, after a sad day yesterday, I’ve returned to some of the best news I will hear in all of 2013 so you can say what you want, it’s all good.

Comment by Rob

And yes, it is very early – but somehow I’m the last commentator, not the first. Typical. Anyway, I’m going to bed for a few hours. Sweet dreams.

Comment by Rob

Welcome back Robert. Everything is looking brighter from here.

Comment by George

Will it make up for you being back so soon?

Comment by DH

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