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Events Innovation Culture

Who needs concept products?

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.

Historically, the rock-stars of the show have been connected fridges and bizarre TV formats. As the other products at the show, they strive to encapsule the latest consumer fads wrapped with as much technology hype as possible.

They simply end up demonstrating the lack of market acumen of these companies. And of course, most of the time nothing revolutionary comes out of this…

To be fair, shrewd veterans still attend the event to challenge their expectations on technology readiness levels for embedded AI, drones autonomy or domotics. For the specialists, free insights are to be gained by contrasting this parade of products that will never launch, to the reality of the market.

But don’t be mistaken, the harsh reality of the CES Las Vegas lies in this sole contrast. When companies boast about their vision and deliver concepts products to the press, you should be worried for them. (And if you’re a startup, you might question why would your ecosystem want you to attend.)

Is it cool that Sony just unveiled an electric car at the CES? Sure…

You know what’s even cooler? This:

This is the reality of the innovation market : vision is cheap, shipping is hard.

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By Philippe Méda

Philippe has been training about 200 startups a year since 2007, consulted for dozens of multinationals on rupture innovation or corporate incubation. He also teaches innovation in key MBA programs in Paris and Shanghai.