Why Followers are More Successful than Innovators #65 #cong17

By Gavin Duffy.

Despite the somewhat negative connotation of the talk title, the first thing I'll say is that Innovation is Good.  It is good for society and it is good for the individual, even if the individual does not benefit materially as well as they should or could.  Innovation is what separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom.  It's our ability to create, to come up with new tools and new ways of doing things, that has made us the highest form of biological evolution on this planet.  #cong17

Despite the enormous advances in computing power and the rise of Artificial Intelligence, technology cannot nor I believe ever will be able to generate original thought and ideas.

As the owner manager of a technology solution business which relies on being innovative to separate ourselves from the competition, I am acutely aware of the need to continually innovate and improve.  However our greatest innovations have also been our greatest failures from a commercial point of view, whilst our greatest successes have come from simply tweaking things that have essentially been invented by others. Some people say being first is not always best.  I would go so far as to say that it is rarely best.  First mover successes are the exception.

Lou Reed was a musical innovator but it took 10 to 15 years for his genius to be recognised and he never truely benefited financially from his work.  It has been argued that David Bowe essentially copied the new genre, improved on it and made it his own.

Facebook did not invent the social network.  It was preceeded by Bebo and MySpace yet it was Facebook that went on the conquer the world.

Google did not invent the web browser and search engine.  They were preceded by Netscape and Yahoo who failed to take advantage of first mover advantage.

This list would lead one to believe that the term first mover advantage is a misnomer. It appears to be a distinct disadvantage.

Henry Ford said;

"I invented nothing new. I simply assembled into a car the discoveries of other men behind whom were centuries of work.”

Failure is an intrinsic part of innovation.  Success comes from learning from that failure be it your own or that of others, and then acting upon it.

CongRegation © Eoin Kennedy 2017 eoin at congregation dot ie