When giving a presentation to students at the Silicon Valley Carnegie Mellon University campus last night, I was pondering the timing of innovation. As the famous techie saying goes, ‘being too early is the same as being wrong’…. It seems that there are two simple sides to the timeline:
- tech that is too old for the time causes frustration (eg existing legacy tech)
- tech that is designed to be too far forward looking won’t be used
So, the sweet spot is targeting tech that is ‘just far ahead enough’ of where we are now to both solve the problem and be adopted. Which is brings to my mind many interesting things about innovation. Innovation, for example, is not about being a visionary and building that future, rather it is a matter of keeping your head in the future but your products just a little ahead of the here and now (so users will understand and use them), and evolving them over time.
This may mean that on some days you might feel you are building ‘old ideas’.