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I've been in the innovation space for a long time and one of the appeals for me is that I get excited when I see products that are so cool, they're so innovative. I get asked the question a lot, "What do you think is the most innovative product?" I'm going to tell you what my favorite and I think most innovative product is. It's going to surprise you, because it's been around a very long time but it gives insight into why I think innovative products are so, and so important.
My top innovation very simply is this, eyeglasses. Here's why:They're one of these ideas that have been around forever and they're so taken for granted. Without this, could you imagine how difficult it would be to learn, to read, to drive a car, even to walk, even to get around, mobility. This little innovation and the adaptations that have been made to it like, thank you Ben Franklin for bifocals, which I take advantage of.
Those are all, like any product it's been around a long time. The interesting thing to me about innovation is that if products could talk to you they would share their secrets about how they were invented, how they were created and how they were improved over time. Those secrets are important. Those patterns can be reapplied and used in other products and services. This is why I study and we analyze innovative products to see what makes them tick.
I look at some products today and the ones that get me most excited are the ones that make you slap your forehead and say, "Gee, why didn't I think of that?" Those are the products that are deceptively simple and a lot of times they're taking advantage of something that's right around where the product's being use. They're leveraging some resource or some aspect that is completely out of sight out of mind and it just makes you smile. You look at it and go, "God, that is so cool." I see those products all the time.
In fact, I track these products. I started a Pinterest site with a board for different types of innovations that fall in different categories and show these examples. My wife will tell you I probably spend more time on my Pinterest site tracking these innovations. It teaches you, it informs you, it excites you and I like working with companies to help them to. See how they can take what they thought was an every day mature product, not that exciting, and all of a sudden they can take it and make it into an exciting product.
I remember working very closely with a company that makes a food. Food, kitchen products, desserts. They were able to apply this not to the dessert itself but rather to how the family interacted with each other and turned it into a whole family fun experience. They were able to take systematic methods and think about the product all the way from when it comes off the shelf at the grocery store, how it gets home, how it gets put on the pantry shelf, how it gets pulled off the pantry shelf, put on the kitchen countertop and the family has fun making this dessert together.
It's a blockbuster product. I look at that and I think that's really thinking through innovation in such a creative way. Was it high technology, was it super Silicon Valley XYZ thing? No, it was a dessert for the family and it was so creative and just brought smiles to people's faces.
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