Innovation: Even The Kitchen Sink Is Useless.

Innovation as a marketing term is I’ve been thinking about a lot these days. This has to do with this post from back in April. Then I read this wonderful presentation by Maciej Ceglowski about The Internet and I started thinking about innovation even more.

While there are many quotes from the presentation that resonated with me, I found it interesting that the word Innovation was not used once. I applaud the author for the fact that he didn’t have to mention that word but you know it was on his mind.

Let me explain what I mean.

Innovation is a word that is thrown around left and right these days. Everything is innovation this and innovation that. While I understand what the word means and why companies out there ride it long and hard for marketing, I seriously question what good any of this innovation is doing for us.

J&J Reach commercial from the 1980's

My first memory of really feeling something was off in the way we were being sold “innovation” was this commercial from the 80’s. Some of  you will be old enough to remember this one. J&J basically told us that if we wanted super clean, back teeth, then we’d have to buy this toothbrush that was in the shape of a dental pic. Why? Well, because straight toothbrushes simply could not get to those “hard to reach” areas in our mouths. You know, the areas we can get to with regular toothbrushes?

Yeah.

Then there is Ziploc with their various bag upgrades. I guess we weren’t satisfied with resealable bags because all of a sudden we needed four zippers! And they have to make a clicking sound! And be colour coded! And we need moisture vents! And little thingy’s that do something with… wait what?

Don’t even get me started on razors (seriously, what is this?). Or cooking supplies.

To my mind, “innovation” pretty much means “things that you think you need”. It’s stuff that companies are trying to convince you will make your life easier, better, more fulfilling. In short, this stuff doesn’t make your life any easier, better, or more fulfilling.

Today we’re being sold “innovation” at a fevered pitch and we only have ourselves to blame really. We can’t seem to go more than a year without demanding that more stuff be added to the things we have. And the corporations that make the stuff we want are more than happy to oblige.

What do we end up with? We end up with new things that are the same as the old things only they do a couple of more things stuffed into them and no one will care about it next year because the things will have a few more things attached to them.

The corporations want the keep making money so they constantly let us know that the thing they made last year sucks.

Bah. This is a rambling post that that doesn’t really have any logical conclusion. I know this is going to keep happening.

I’ll come back and add more to this post next year once I have an idea as to what I think you want me to say.