Every Day Innovation: Where Have you Experienced it?

Innovation can comes from every corner of every day life: the last great novel you read; the cereal package that was easy to open; the microwave dinner that didn't suck; the next use of air and balls from Dyson; the machine that made your coffee; the noteworthy car rental experience in Indianapolis. What recent experiences inspired you?

To the degree we get feedback, we promise to meta-analyze the input and share an assessment of “patterns of innovation.” Please don’t look at Ted Talks or HBR or Mashable or your iPad for inspiration on this. This is not about big tech ideas. They are macroeconomic to the microeconomics we experience as consumers every day - we are not necessarily looking for new business models.

Both grounds – macro and micro – are fertile for innovation. Just think about when you personally noticed an experience that meant something in your everyday life, for which you wanted more.

Here’s a start from one person:

  • Blue Hill restaurant in NYC (and upstate) and their expertise with preparing vegetables. They’ve de-commoditized.
  • The shoe shine and repair company that showed up at my place of work weekly to pick up shoe orders instead of waiting for them. They’ve eliminated one obvious barrier to use – at what cost I don’t know.
  • The clever use of period and anachronism in entertainment a la Mad Men, Downton Abbey, Game of Thrones, Battlestar Galactica, Lost, Deadwood, Star Trek, etc. It underscores the fundamental need to connect, in timeless ways, to the past or the future.
  • GoGo squeeZ apple sauce and other mushy sweet stuff with nutritional value in a package from which kids will eat. They’ve decoupled from a packaging format that held them back without detracting from a core market.
  • The Atlantic Hotel in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida using a Samsung Galaxy Tab as the centerpiece of the hotel room to control everything from lighting in the room to the TV to ordering room service. It puts technology in a totally new context, not a sort of new one.
  • Avis for believing me when I said my gas tank wasn’t full when I picked up the car. They’ve enabled front-line employees to make a judgment call.
    Charter schools for bringing the concept of a concept to education.
  • Phineas and Ferb for breaking up some of the monotony of the Disney Channel.
  • The extra minute of scalp massage I get during my hair wash and before my haircut. Illustrating that not all differentiators have to be hard or expensive to deliver.
  • My bank (which is big and shall remain nameless) for giving me immediate access to every dubious transaction and really trying to help me make more of the money I keep with them.
  • Doggie stairs that let my beloved old Pug get to his favorite perches around the house on his own.
  • Those super bright key chain lights for helping retrieve that which would have been lost in the dark.

These are all things that in one way or another have changed my view of innovation lately. So I ask you – What are your everyday innovation experiences?

Jason Brown is President, Ipsos Vantis and Ipsos I&S North America. A specialist in the field of market research, has has a very keen eye for “diamonds in the rough” and how to commercialize them – the ideas that might not look like champions at first, but have that potential.

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