“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses !”
Being out of the box innovative is sometimes better than just being a problem solver !
While this quote is attributed to Henry Ford, there is no evidence he actually said it. Ford identified the need pretty accurately – an affordable car for the masses. And helped develop the assembly line technique for mass production and so lower prices of Ford cars. So much so that by 1918, half of all cars in America were Model Ts.
However, Ford cannot be said to be very consumer friendly or innovative. Indeed he said in his autobiography: “Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black” !
However, there is lot of substance in the logic of being so innovative that you think ‘out of the box” . The Apple ipod – followed by the iphone – are clear examples of successes one can have when one decides to be so innovative that entirely new markets- with no competition – open up. Identifying and working upon an existing problem has obvious limitations – many people know about the problem, are working on possible solutions , and so you are looking at a highly competitive, fragmented market finally. An innovative entrepreneur may probably opt for the ‘out of the box’ approach. And so become a pioneer that opens up new markets, enjoying first mover advantage for a long time.
Which side are you on ? Totally innovative, new product development or incremental , problem solving ? Let me know in the comments below !
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