As the Wikipedia defines it, innovation is “a new way of doing something” and “an important topic in the study of economics, business, technology, sociology and engineering.”
But what is the true meaning of the infamous term “innovation” in Web 2.0? Do large companies realize the real value of innovation or only claim to do so in their desperate efforts to gain market share and increase their profits? What happened to the days when real innovation gave companies a competitive advantage? Do consumers sincerely differentiate between incremental and radical innovation? And what are the disadvantages of masked imitation?
Amongst the many passions I have, besides writing and reading, watching movies seems to be at the top of my list. After conducting some research and taking some time to ponder upon the title of this post, I came to see the correlation of this topic with the Batman movie: Bruce Wayne masked as Batman to help make the world a safer place. Yet, we live in reality and there is no such thing as giving without wanting something in return and when anything, in this big bad world, is masked as something else, it is usually a bad sign!
How is Burce Wayne here relevant to my discussion about imitation masked as innovation?
I urge you to take a step back and look at large companies utilizing Web 2.0 in a different light!
- Quub’s imitation of Twitter and Plurk.
- IBM’s imitation of Facebook.
- Seesmic’s imitation of Tweetdeck.
And I am sure the list can go on and on.
In the fast world we are currently living in, sometimes we tend to ignore the value of our experiences; overlooking the overall benefits we are seeking in order to make our lives a little bit easier and less complicated! Consequently, I believe that we have reached the point where radical innovation is placed on equal grounds with incremental innovation although they are far from being the same!
As I see it, incremental innovation could be as little as masked imitation! It is, at most times, short-termed and more profit-oriented. Furthermore, incremental innovation is used by larger corporations who might not have the right tools, creativity or knowledge to create new original cutting-edge products/services yet have the financial capabilities to execute and implement them!
I’m not a great fan of Facebook’s management or team, yet, looking back at what Facebook has been able to do throughout its years of operation, I can safely say: Yes! Facebook has been applying radical innovation! It is creating from scratch unique solutions that match its users wants and needs and even exceeds their expectations in some areas.
It’s true that most radical innovations are actually discrete accumulations of much smaller improvements yet they have the ability to be life changing, and those seem to have seized to exist these days!
Moreover, it is granted that big ventures require big efforts but isn’t that what large corporations are all about? What I don’t seem to grasp is how are they settling for small when they have the potential to score huge?
I blame us! I blame the users of products and services especially in the field of technology and Web 2.0. We are always asking for more yet continuously accepting less! Where did all the research and development to reach perfection go? When will we come to appreciate the real power we have as consumers? When will the time come to stand united against giant companies and say: “Enough imitation! Bring us something new or you are out!”
**Great thanks to the image by ~jjjohn~