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Gullibility-driven innovation

I spent yesterday morning at a conference about innovation and future technology hosted by Innovation Lab. A very inspiring conference, as you may have guessed, or I wouldn't be blogging about it. Co-founder Preben Mejer gave a brief overview of near future technology that included digital paper, intelligent homes, robots, ice cap-cooled remote servers in Greenland, and the coming of RFID and GPS systems in mobile phones.

The two other speakers focused on operational aspects of innovation: How to adapt your organization to embrace innovative thinking, and how leaders of the future may go about managing their employees. A lesson learned from both was that innovation is by no means a linear process of research, and that people play a crucial role in creating new technology and especially the demands for new technology.

They also showed us an example of innovation that wasn't driven by genius or striving for a better world, but by profit... and gullible customers. The case in point was a $10 brushed steel trash can, which had been branded and was now being sold for something close to $280. The only innovative ingredient was the manufacturer's brilliant new idea that trash cans need not be sold cheap.

Maybe the lesson was simply that branding works. Still, it made me think all these so-called innovative designs sprinkled with the transitory stardust of a marketing machine should from now on be categorized not as innovative but simply as 'branded'. Or possibly as 'gullibility-driven innovation'.

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jakobdrud
jakobdrud

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