Innovation As Process, Not Event

by Holland-Mark | June 1, 2011

In 1950, Zenith created the first television remote control, and it was a smash.

It took 5 years for the first wireless remote to be delivered, using finicky photoelectric cell technology, and then another 15 for the infrared technology we use now to be delivered to the market, in 1970.

That’s 20 years of competition among set builders, resulting in a slow, incremental march toward commodity feature status.

In contrast… the first commercially available MP3 player – the MPMan – was born in 1998. It held 6 songs.

Rio, HanGo, and Nomad players followed within months, each pushing the storage limit to new heights in rapid succession, until Apple launched an iPod that put “1,000 songs in your pocket,” in 2001.

3 years of intense competition, culminating in a category killer that still dominates a decade later.

The age of product innovation as annual event is over. If you’re not actively evolving your product, incrementally and every day in the direction of what your customers will want once you get to the marketplace, you’re doomed. Pizza. Uckfayed.

If you began to think about your brand’s social marketing program primarily as a means to stay connected to what customers are saying about your product, your competition, and the problems you’re both trying to solve… how would your approach to it change?

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