Is innovation just making things a little bit better?

A few days ago, I had to explain the difference between 2 technologies to someone. His response at the end was "Isn't that just a little bit better than the first technology though? Why would anyone find that all that useful? No one would be willing to spend more money on that?" I couldn't help feeling that while he had a point, but he was also missing it all together.

Isn't innovation often just figuring out how to make things just a little bit better/little bit easier. That "little bit" is sometimes enough (think DVRs replacing the old VCRs leading to the increase in people time-shifting though it was always possible before; think Apple making listening to music easier by intergrating the entire stack though finding music online and putting it on MP3 players was always possible before.) Of course, many times it just isn't enough and thats why so many products don't really catch fire.

But the lesson is kinda obvious, if you're short of ideas look around to see whats consumers are doing and see if you can think of making it just a little bit easier/faster.


shmoo said…
Or seatbelts, or lightbulbs that last longer than a week, or color TV, or 33 rpm vinyl records.

What a moron.

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