“When everyone else is doing the same thing, do your own thing!” – Futurist Jim Carroll
Nothing great was ever achieved by following the crowd because the crowd doesn’t have wisdom – it has the bias of common thought! With that in mind, realize that bandwagon and copycat innovation is one of the worst things you can do – because it usually does not go well.
In 1972, Hamilton introduced the world’s first commercial electronic digital wristwatch. It retailed for the pricey sum of $2,100, which amounts to over $12,000 today. However, by the end of the 1970s, digital watches would regularly retail for under $10 a piece. In the 1980s, they could be found in cereal boxes as cheap giveaways, and today, they have been replaced by smartwatches.
The Digital Watch: A Brief History
Before there were smartwatches, digital watches were the most high-tech timepieces you could buy
PCMagazine, October 17, 2018
Often, by the time you jump into a new product or service trend, it’s too late – we know that from history. Google+, introduced in 2011 to compete with Facebook, faded and died because it was too late. The Microsoft Zune, an iPod competitor ultimately, wasn’t. Crystal Pepsi, a clear cola designed to compete with Coca-Cola’s Clear Tab, didn’t achieve clear success and was taken off the market. Trying to copy successful value propositions or brand value is equally difficult. Bic, which had achieved global success with the brilliant idea of the disposable pen, lighter, and razors, thought the future would be found in all things disposable. Predictably, the Bic Disposable Underwear product, introduced in the 1970s was a commercial failure and was quickly discontinued.
Innovation that is based on “jumping on the bandwagon” is doomed to fail, for many, many reasons:
- it’s lazy: true innovation takes hard work. It involves massive cultural, organizational, and structural change. It involves an organization and leadership team that is willing to try all kinds of radical and new ideas to deal with rapid change. An innovative organization can’t innovate simply by jumping on a trend. Trying to do so is just trying to find an easy solution to deep, complex problems.
- it involves little new creativity: linking a new approach to doing things with a commonly used phrase or the latest ‘hot new trend’ means that people end up shutting their brains down. Creativity is immediately doomed through commonality.
- it’s just a bandaid: bandwagon-based innovation causes people to look for instant solutions and a quick fix, rather than trying to really figure out how to do something differently.
- it’s misfocused: it involves putting in a solution that is sought without identifying a problem. It’s backward in terms of approach. Just because everyone else is doing something doesn’t mean that you should.
- it encourages mediocrity: it reduces innovation to an “idea of the week,” and does nothing to encourage people to really look at their world in a different way.
- it reduces innovation to sloganeering: truly creative people within organizations are tired of slogan-based management. They’ve seen far too many ‘radical right turns’ and ‘new beginnings’ — and when they realize that their management team has jumped onto the latest hot-trend bandwagon, their faith, and motivation go out the window.
- it destroys innovation: after the bandwagon effect ultimately fails (as they always do for the reasons above), people end up feeling burned out, cynical, and demotivated — and they’ll be prepared to do little when the “next big thing” comes along.
Look, innovation and aligning to the future aren’t about bandwagons. It’s more important — and more difficult — than that. It’s about finding something within an obvious trend that plays to your strengths, lets you share your unique value, and removes you from the crowd. It means that you find what you need to do to need to be different, stand out, and do the important thing, not the hot thing!
That? Oh, it’s at https://ai-megatrends.jimcarroll.com.
Be what matters!