Innovation Adoption

These days, the problem isn’t how to innovate; it’s how to get society to adopt the good ideas that already exist.

Heard via the JRE Podcast (not sure which episode) 🤷‍♂️. This is a quote by Douglas Engelbart, an inventor with bragging rights to the computer mouse.

In a self centered way I see Doug's message as prudent reminder for anyone starting their own venture. A business, product or startup. The trap is thinking success relies purely on constant features or selling points. Often what you've created is already great and useful. People just don't know about you, your product, why they need it, how they use it.

To me, this conundrum highlights the need for marketing. It sounds obvious but I believe it's often not given the focus it should.

I view marketing more like education. Humans are fragile, tech things scare us. Like crocs or meat knee jeans. We depend on relatable queues and instinct before we make life's big descisions. We need to be, wait for it, "influenced" 🤦‍♀️.

Say my friend Bob buys a new phone with three ungodly cameras on the back. If he comes in gleaming about it on Monday and others jump in with high five props and excitable hip gyrations, I'm suddenly intrigued. I'm "in the know". Bob doesn't scale though. Instead mini Bob's have invaded our browsers, phones, TV's and anywhere the eyeballs frequent. These days Bob Apple needs to spend a few million so we know all about it. Marketing exposes us to new things without knowing Bob.

VR is currently the perfect use-case for Doug's dilemma.

The Oculus Rift and HTC Vive are accessible, ready-to-go devices offering compelling experiences. If you've used them you've seen the light. It's true! You're suddenly a disciple from the future placing bets with Marty McFly. There is a bright future for VR. The timing and final form are to be determined, but it's ready to-go now.

Mass adoption is currently a slow burn. The average person's experience of VR is low-end headsets at promo booths in shopping malls 🙄.

VR MUST BE IMRPOVED TO GET ALL THE PEOPLE! Higher def screens, smaller headsets, no controllers, full body tracking! Ah-ha. If you read Doug's Daily Digest you'd remember this alone won't fix the problem.

His fine words triggered a timely reminder. Our studio is currently bootstrapping a VR platform and uptake has felt slower than expected. However until VR is ubiquitous we need to recognise we're in the business of knowledge work. We're just as much educators as we are innovators.