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dermot casey

My father used tell a story about when rural electrification first happened in Ireland (from the 1930's to the 1950's). One old lady, Mrs McGrath, had "the electricity" installed in her house. As night fell she would turn on the light in the house and then use it to find the candle and matches. She'd light the candle and then promptly turn the light off again. She did think Electricity was a great innovation to help her light the candle. :-)


Dermot, perfect!

That says it all... love that one! (Will use in future ;)



I think evolution is the wrong term for it, innovation definitely. Evolution is the incremental change. I don't see how changing the entire fundamental framework/philosophy of something is an incremental change :P

But that is how market leaders are displaced. By changing the game. You can't beat Microsoft at their game (Desktop). So Google changed the game, and played it on the internet, where Microsoft has a history of sucking. Microsoft is largely irrelevant now. Google will get knocked off when someone else comes in and redefines the problem space and framework/philosophy


John, I agree fully (had a iffy feeling about that one, got stuck in the progress part...)

Maybe "innovation" is enough, or "progress by leaps and bounds" :)

Think innovation is enough... shall do a strikeover in the post, bye bye "evolution". Thanks!

James Brunskill

I don't think there is an easy way to say "X" is a innovation and "Y" is fixing a problem.

For example in the light bulb case the problem they were fixing might have been having to regularly refuel the lamps. It might have been to reduce fire risk. Eletric light solved both of these "problems" they were probably some of the reasons that eletric light has been such as success. If your product solves a problem (regardless of whether anyone else considers it a problem currently) it is far more likely to be successful than one that does solve anything! Often we are seduced by "cool" and "new" stuff, but looking at how something solves real life problems is a good way to ensure that your product has some usefullness out side of a geek's toolbox.

So I think you are right, if we think in terms of "how can we solve problem X" we are not particluarly likely to come up with a revolutionary solution to the problem, on the other hand we need to remember that if we don't solve any problems, we probably aren't going to get very far :)


James, (sorry for responding late but the chaps at Typepad had a couple of bad days I think :)

Absolutely - fixing problems is a necessity, like dressing up in the morning and having breakfast - without that nothing works.

It's like I've found works for me - get all the "little issues" and problems out of the way as fast as possible then lean back and focus on the big picture and the generally important stuff.

As individuals I think we are able to look past many problems-at-hand, after an initial "ouch, frustrated, angry" period that is...

I guess my biggest issue is with the "command and control structures" where your boss defines the issue and give a specific order - that leaves not much room for creative beyond the issues ideas... unless you're a stubborn and brave subordinate :)

A system fault, not so much a human issue perhaps...

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