Thursday, March 11, 2010

Gauging Innovation: Sometimes An "Obvious" Change of Scale Can Be Revolutionary

I'm one of the skeptics who yawned when the iPad came out. "Just like existing products, only bigger, with fewer features and still no Flash...." I may have been dead wrong. Sometimes what looks like an "obvious" change in a something as simple as a physical dimension can enable who new levels of functionality. That wasn't terribly clear to me with the iPad, and still isn't, but another innovative company following suit opened my mind to the real possibilities here. Meet Spice 2.0, courtesy of Frito-Lay. Now I get it!

So the lesson for the rest of us is to consider what a change in some dimension of your existing products could do to change the way people solve real problems. Better yet, understand the unmet needs of the users of your products and competitive products, and understand how a change in some aspect of what now exists could provide surprising solutions to those problems. Doritos, you've taught us something here. I hope Apple's iPad will also realize similar potential.

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