Saturday, September 26, 2009

Smart. Umair Haque: What if we replaced "innovation" with "awesomeness"?

Toss out Joseph Schumpeter, bow down to Steve Jobs. Innovation "dries up our seedcorn"; it's about commercial novelty, not true creativity. Awesomeness puts inspiration and delight front and center. "Awesome stuff evokes an emotive reaction because it's fundamentally new, unexpected, and 1000x better. Just ask Steve Jobs."

Haque's idea seems to be that if companies focus on making great things--insanely great, in fact--consumers, society and businesses themselves will all benefit. 

Key to this process? Real passion for, and in, your product. If you're not in love with what you make, if you're not driven to make it better for yourself rather than for an abstract market, your success is limited to that market's needs; it's capped by existing demand.

The drive for awesomeness doesn't meet demand--it creates it. It seeds new markets in places that no one could have expected, often against the predictions of number-crunching, category tracking "experts":   

"The iPhone and iPod were pooh-poohed by analysts, who questioned how innovative they really were — but the Steve has turned multiple industries upside down through the power of awesomeness."

I'm not sure the Haqueian-Jobsian model works for every industry--there are businesses that won't engender emotion regardless of how awesome their products are (few people are emotionally moved by urinal cakes) and obsessive passion can blind charismatic founders to utility (the root of Jobs's remarkably few failures)--but anything that lifts the staggeringly low bar on what we expect from corporate America is, in my opinion, a net positive.

Posted via email from OriginalSpin


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