As every year the CES (Consumer Electronic Show) is held at Las Vegas. Journalists flock the event and bombard social media with pictures, articles and videos of improbable products that will never see the light of the market.
1. Do not write for an audience
I know this goes against all good marketing advice, which say “you should know your audience”, “you should speak their language”, etc. Etc. You know that already.
But somehow too much empathy leads to self-censorship. And writing is about self-expression, so you see the problem here. If you overthink about who is going to read you, then you might be tempted to be less authentic in favour of adapting to your imagined audience (that’s for all the people pleasers) or you might over judge what you write (that’s for the less confident ones) or you might even freeze for fear of judgement, or consequence on your social image (that might be for the overly self-conscious).
Lee VINSEL is an associate professor at Virgina Tech. He gently explains that innovation is like oxycontin in the academic field. And that when he’s pitching innovation to university administrators he does what consultants do when they try to part a customer from its money:
Terrifying them is even more important, though. When I am pitching administrators, I show them threatening charts of how fast cell phones diffused around the planet, which really has nothing to do with anything, and LOADS of curves representing exponential change — like Wayne and Garth from Wayne’s World, schwing! — and then I start throwing in phrases like “digital transformation” and “the permanent disruption of college education,” (…)
His view on innovation programs and five-steps methodologies are quite articulate too:
you can pay Stanford $15,000 for a four-day Design Thinking bootcamp. Design Thinkers have never demonstrated persuasively that their quasi-mystical process leads to any especially significant outcomes, and many professional designers will tell you privately that they believe Design Thinking is a scam verging on fraud. After your Stanford bootcamp, you will leave the Bay Area half-a-new-car poorer, but — quite sadly, tragically even — you will still be you.
He’s also tweeting at @sts_news maybe you should also follow him. I know I am.
He’s my new hero.
Among other things, China innovation now leads the on-demand mobility revolution with more and more electric vehicles and… bikes.
While I was already forewarning my customers in luxury, automotive, energy and retail for years, this is now hopefully obvious for everyone.
The country size, the problems it faces with pollution and demography, the rapid growth of its economy, have all shaped it to be the most transformative force on the planet. Industries and startups that are still dreaming of California as THE innovation template are still looking in the rear mirror. 20 of the biggest internet companies by market capitalization are now in China, whilst only 11 are in the US (five years ago it was 2 versus 9).
These next years will be both thrilling and quite challenging for westerners innovators.