Man The Box, Please!
In my last job, I heard the phrase "outside the box" thrown around a lot. Aside from getting asked all the time if I thought this or that company's products represented "outside-the-box thinking," I'd frequently get emails from PR folks that read: "Innovative products...by one of the most outside-the-box thinkers."
One day, while conversing about products and their creators, a fellow employee asked me a question I was ill-prepared to answer: "If everyone's outside the box, who's manning the box?"
That was a eureka moment of sorts for me, where the lightbulb of innovation turned off, not on. I realized that our industry, like numerous others, doesn't suffer from a dearth of innovators. We suffer from a glut. Too many folks are thinking about being innovative, when what we need is creativity fixed on meeting the needs of the industry.
A recent title for a Harvard Business Review blog says it all: Please, Can We All Just Stop 'Innovating'? The blog, written by Bill Taylor, co-founder of Fast Company magazine, makes a great point – namely, that successful companies/products don't typically come about because someone desires to be innovative. Instead, the roots of success are almost always planted in the desire to solve a problem, enhance a process, have fun or make a difference.
"What if we all stopped trying to 'innovate' — and started trying to have fun and really do something new?" Taylor asks.
It's a worthwhile question.
Here's why I say that: I doubt there are many people in the fishing industry who get to see more new products than I, and I love that aspect of what I do. New products are in my blood. But I can say this and I know it to be 100% true: I've never, not once, been impressed with a company's product when "innovation" was at the heart of the desire to create it. Never!
In nearly every case (and there are many) of a new product that (a) I was impressed with and (b) went on to be successful, the single, defining ingredient was that its creators set out to define and solve a problem faced by anglers or retailers or manufacturers. It's that simple.
That's why I now say we need to get back in the box, and start thinking less about revolutionary new products and more about products and services that folks actually need and will purchase. Isn't that what it's really about?
(Image provided by Jonas Tana.)
INTERESTED IN REAL FISHING PRODCUTS THAT FULFILL REAL NEEDS? CHECK OUT FISHHOUND'S PRODUCT SHOWCASE!