We often imagine that change and innovation happens at the speed of light but both innovation and market adoption takes a lot longer than you imagine. There is a lot of trial and error, testing before the “right product/marketing/business model” hits the spot.
Its understandable that the mantra Fail Often, Fail Fast is so popular. The challenge is to triage your ideas as quickly as possible.
Incremental Innovation is easier to understand, the roadmap of an existing product from V1 to V2 is often about cheaper, better, faster.
The challenge is when the product is a new category, then you need to understand its use case. Inventors can’t envisage how users will really use their invention. If the inventor is too specific about it too early it will kill the customer innovation.
When Alexander Graham Bell was asked what they thought people would use it for, he replied to pipe concert music to their homes !
Sometimes the real innovation is in how the customer adapts and uses your product.
Sometimes it may take generations (history of flight) for the product or service to become available and are just the dreams of innovators, sometimes they depend on the failure of previous innovators or ideas and adjacent products to become available. (eg could Uber exist without the ubiquitous mobile phone and app ecosystem and other enablers).
Does your Delta appear as disruption or is just a natural evolution of ideas…. and everything is an experiment until it is fit for purpose.
Apple failed with its version of the discman before succeeding with the ipod, They “failed” with the Newton before succeeding with the ipad.
While there is a lot of talk about disruption and its true that many of large companies 20, 30, 40 years ago either don’t exist now or are a shadow of their former selves.
Having worked in companies such as BT, Accenture, Price Waterhouse and been to the labs of leading companies such as IBM, Microsoft etc. (I even moved atoms at IBM labs in California), the journey from idea to market is never easy. Selling first inside the company or to VC before taking it to market – everyone needs proof even if the idea is “good” and will work.
Many leading companies have very clever people working in their labs and marketing/product development areas but often they fail to hit the mark and while the concept may be right its implementation and market fit are wrong.
Initially there needs to be a diversity of “solutions” eg Betamax vs VHS before the market picks the winner. Early in the development of the innovation we see a host of players.
One just has to see the bets being placed on self driving cars, so while intelligent autonomous cars are a natural evolution, its actual implementation the business model and technology are still evolving.
AT&T’s commercial tells about how they would bring a host of services but it is other companies that actually did
Video Payphones, (but it is skype and facetime that give us video calling – payphones are a dying business) ebooks (Amazon Kindle own the space), Even though BT (& AT&T) spent a fortune trialing VOD (Video on Demand) it is Netflix that owns the Movies on Demand space, Fax has been replaced by email etc
To get an insight of how the internet and cloud services were born, here is an excellent history of how it all began
One would have thought that the old Time Sharing companies or the Telco should have owned this space but instead it is companies such as Amazon, Google, IBM etc.
It’s easy to forget that today’s internet came about because of the need to share scare computing resources (Resource Sharing) but it lays the foundation for todays range of services from movies on demand to online shopping to content sharing.
It is probably helped by the fact that they were their own biggest customers so they could refine and develop these platforms better than anyone else.
Businesses grow drom developing competences, If airlines do maintenance on their planes, why not for other airlines. If you need a large infrastructure to run your business like google and amazon, why not also sell those capabilities and services.