We as a society are so ready for the Jetsons technology that will make us live forever in talking houses running on clean energy that we'll lose our minds over any crackpot idea, no matter how obviously flawed and ultimately unworkable it is.
Getty Images In the s a team at the University of Sussex undertook what they hoped would become a landmark study to understand why innovations succeed and fail.
They studied the chemicals and scientific instruments industries, examining over factors that could impact successful innovation.
Ultimately they found that very few factors seemed to be consistently correlated with success. Importantly, in the context of a highly technical industry, they found that technical superiority did not actually consistently lead to successful innovation. The study is remarkable both because of the number of factors tested as well as the outcome.
Innovators were far more successful when understanding user needs from the beginning, not after they had built a solution. We think in terms of solutions.
The question is, what now? The solution is relatively simple. For any innovation project, at any stage, pause and try to understand, what problem are you actually solving? The best writers on innovation talk about this differently but all hint at the same thing.
How did they find growth in a crowded market? They looked at the existing solutions and asked the question, why do customers trade up or down between the existing alternatives of a home-exercise program and an expense gym membership.
What they observed was that customers traded up to gyms because it helped them stay motivated to exercise but they traded down to home exercise programs because of the time and cost of travelling to centrally located gyms. Often we think only in terms of functional jobs, and forget that every "job to be done" has an emotional and social component as well.
For example, some of my students wanted to help anxious parents worried about losing their children in a crowded place. They immediately assumed the solution was a "child leash" which they would make cool through industrial design and affordable through overseas manufacturing.
I pushed them to go watch parents and talk to them first. What they quickly discovered was that while the leash does the functional job, parents felt like "bad parents" emotional job and were embarrassed in from of their peers social job. Clearly if they had placed a purchase order for 10, of their newly designed leashes they were going to fail.
Parents could set the perimeter for their children and receive alerts if their children strayed outside the limits. Long story short, by understanding the customer need first, they have a growing business today.
While our understanding is never complete, taking the time to go beyond surveys and instead observe and talk to customers almost always creates critically important insights for any innovator.
Mar 26, More from Inc.21 Failed Inventions. One minor problem was the car's right wing, it failed one trial run in , then it failed later again that year in a crash that killed both inventors. And that is the. The CEO and cofounder of Superlab will open the Museum of Failed Innovation in his native Sweden in June He offered a pop-up preview of the permanent exhibition at the Mirum Opus Demystifying Innovation conference on Tuesday.
Why Even Great Innovations Fail. the s a team at the University of Sussex undertook what they hoped would become a landmark study to understand why innovations succeed and fail.
They. Jan 12, · 10 Innovative Pieces of Technology That Failed Miserably. Mike Floorwalker January 12, Share Stumble 3.
Tweet. Pin 12 +1 It had graphics and sound capabilities that put the to shame, but that was only the beginning of its innovations.
Intellivision was the first bit gaming system, the first to feature voice. Jan 12, · 10 Innovative Pieces of Technology That Failed Miserably. Mike Floorwalker January 12, Share Stumble 3. Tweet. Pin 12 +1 It had graphics and sound capabilities that put the to shame, but that was only the beginning of its innovations.
Intellivision was the first bit gaming system, the first to feature voice. Innovation is a key component of any enterprise, but failure is an intrinsic, inevitable part of the process.
Most products fail, most mergers and acquisitions fail, most projects fail and most.