Steve Jobs' iPod is an example of great innovation. The iPod was not the first portable music device, neither the first device to put hundreds of songs in your pocket. What made Apple innovative was that it combined elements in a single device.
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Companies often focus on technology instead of the customer's problem.
Smart innovators frame their ideas to stress how a new concept is compatible with the existing market landscape.
Today when we have unlimited songs in our pocket, we take them for granted, but forty years ago in 1979, when Sony’s first portable music player the “Walkman” debuted, a personal, portable music player was unheard of. From being a shared experience, music suddenly became a deep personal soundscape, hammering between one’s ears.
Though big by today’s standards, the Walkman was a tiny thing to behold in Japan, where it debuted, and the youth took to the funky gadget that could carry one’s music out of the bedroom, into the subway and city streets. Sony ended up selling two million Walkmans in less than two years.
When you look at great geniuses like Newton, for example, it can be easy to imagine that their ideas and work came exclusively out of their minds. But that is seldom how it works.
Innovation doesn’t occur in a vacuum. Regardless of how unique a work seems, if you look a bit closer, you will always find that the creator mastered what other people had already figured out.
Large corporations seem to lose their ability to innovate, something that they could do when they were small and nimble.
These big companies buy smaller companies, who are innovative despite struggling and being low on resources and finances.
Innovation, it seems, requires constraints and struggle.
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