I find it pretty funny that people still think that innovation has to be HUGE! Innovation is not merely combining a bunch of things which pre-existed before in magical ways, ala iPhone, creating a huge new ecosystem of products and services, but can also be found in small things which change people in big ways.
For example, look at Tinder, a hot-or-not for mobile devices. There is literally nothing to it over and above hot-or-not other that that its location aware, and lets you meet the people in person that are are around you, and you like the profile of. The innovation is in the combination of the location and the service. Or Instagram. What’s so innovative about Instagram? Nothing that hasn’t existed before on a laptop exists in Instagram, but its the implementation which is innovative.
One more thing: I keep going back to Uber, but its illustrative. Uber is innovative because it’s disruptive. Cab companies and cities are trying to kill Uber, cause Uber is trying to upset the apple cart, and truly provide a much better experience. On could ask: is it innovative IF its disruptive?
Also, in the end, some people detach innovation from the market and think that if it makes money, it can’t be innovative! If you ask me, innovation for innovations sake, and not to monetize, misses the point. If something is truly innovative, it brings value. And value can and should be directly connected to monetization.
In the fall of 2011, Max Levchin took the stage at a TechCrunch conference to lament the sad state of U.S. innovation.
“Technology innovation in this country is somewhere between dire straits and dead,” said the PayPal co-founder, later adding: “The solution is actually very simple: You have to aim almost ridiculously high.”
Late last month, Levchin began his latest venture, Affirm, which lets consumers buy things online using their Facebook profile. That follows his previous business, Slide, a photo-sharing service that also allowed people to take care of their virtual “SuperPoke! Pets.”
Neither, it’s fair to say, is exactly the moon shot of our age.