Platt Perspective on Business and Technology

Meshing innovation, product development and production, marketing and sales as a virtuous cycle 17

Posted in business and convergent technologies, strategy and planning by Timothy Platt on February 17, 2019

This is my 17th installment to a series in which I reconsider cosmetic and innovative change as they impact upon and even fundamentally shape the product design and development, manufacturing, marketing, distribution and sales cycle, and from both the producer and consumer perspectives (see Ubiquitous Computing and Communications – everywhere all the time 2 and its Page 3 continuation, postings 342 and loosely following for Parts 1-16.)

I have been discussing the issues and the interactive dynamics of global flattening and opening up, and of resistance to that and its concomitant at-least-local wrinkling in this series, since Part 14. And I have pursued that complex of issues here, with a specific goal of shedding light on innovation and its acceptance, or failure to achieve that as the case may be, and in a business cycle context. Ultimately, businesses function in larger contexts then themselves and certainly where the comparative pressures of innovative competition play out, so consideration of both within-house and externally faced contexts, is necessary there.

That narrative thread as begun, developed and presented up to here, has led me to a more innovation-oriented list of to-address points that I raised at the end of Part 16, and that I will begin discussing here, noting that I expect to add at least a few additional details to it as I proceed:

1. What does and does not qualify as a true innovation, and to whom in this overall set of contexts?
2. And where, at least in general terms could this New be expected to engender resistance and push-back, and of a type that would not simply fit categorically into the initial resistance patterns expected from a more standard cross-demographic innovation acceptance diffusion curve and its acceptance and resistance patterns?
3. How in fact would explicit push-back against globalization per se even be identified, and certainly in any real case-in-point, detail-of-impact example, given the co-occurrence of a pattern of acceptance and resistance to that, that would be expected from marketplace adherence to a more standard innovation acceptance diffusion curve? To clarify the need to address this issue here, and the complexities of actually doing so in any specific-instance case, I note that the more genuinely disruptively new an innovation is, the larger the percentage of potential marketplace participants would be, that would be expected to hold off on accepting it and at least for significant periods of time, and with their failure to buy and use it lasting throughout their latency-to-accept periods. But that failure to buy in on the part of these involved demographics and their members does not in and of itself indicate anything as to their underlying motivation for doing so, longer term and as they become more individually comfortable with its particular form of New. Their marketplace activity, or rather their lack of it would qualify more as noise in this system, and certainly when anything like a real-time analysis is attempted to determine underlying causal mechanisms in the market activity and marketplace behavior in play. As such, any meaningful analysis and understanding of the dynamics of the marketplace in this can become highly reactive and after the fact, and particularly for those truly disruptive innovations that would only be expected to appeal at first to just a small percentage of early and pioneer adaptor marketplace participants.
4. This leads to a core question of who drives resistance to globalization and its open markets, and how. And I will address that in social networking terms.
5. And it leads to a second, equally important question here too: how would globalization resistance-based failure to buy in on innovation peak and then drop off if it were tracked along an innovation disruptiveness scale over time?

I begin addressing the issues raised in that list with consideration of Point 1 and its question, and by offering a basic perhaps simplest case definition of what innovation is and of what that word means. Innovation is change. And to be more specific but still as open-endedly inclusive as possible here as to overall meaning:

• Innovation is change that at least someone might realistically be expected to see as creating at least some new source or level of value, however small, at least by their standards and criteria.

And that can in its broadest sense mean anything from minor cosmetic change with whatever ephemeral bump in perceived marketable value that might entail, through to include game changing disruptive New that might in time come to be worth billions of dollars and more.

Simple cosmetic change: what might be called in-name-only innovation for it paucity of value-added scale, does not challenge the perception or the understanding of a viewer, and certainly if they do not start out resistant to change at all. It might not prompt them to run out and buy, but it does not necessarily repel and engender resistance to change or to New either. It does not as such, in this simplest form, challenge or even call for a conscious consideration of one’s world view or one’s beliefs and on anything.

Truly disruptive innovative change, on the other hand, does by its very nature force a viewer to look at their underlying assumptions and presumptions, at least for whatever arenas of experience that accepting and using this New would impact upon for them. And the more disruptive a change, the wider the range of a viewer’s underlying implicit assumptions that this New would force to their attention – and with any such forced attention always carrying with it an at-least implicit challenge to that currently held belief system and to how they currently act in its regard.

I put this in starkly extreme terms for a reason, which I will make explicit use of in what follows, as I shift for the moment from considering Point 1 of the above list, to consider its Point 2. What I just did and very intentionally so, was to conflate:

• The resistance to, to acceptance of process that different demographics and their members would go through when confronted by the innovative new, as would be expected when considering a standard innovation diffusion and acceptance curve and its participants,
• And the resistance versus acceptance dynamics that would play out in a global wrinkling versus global flattening context as I have discussed here in the last several installments to this series.

Why? Because people do not clearly, analytically parse out all of the individually shaped and formed weighing factors that collectively come together to determine their level or pace of acceptance of New, as they face and have to deal with change in their lives. Ultimately, what we directly see is the cumulative outcome of analyses that tend to take place at a subconscious or at least less than fully conscious level, where more analytically framed explanations of decisions made and actions taken, tend to be after the fact rationalizations, and certainly in detail.

Given that, at least conceptually how would one distinguish between the types of acceptance and resistance patterns that arise and are contained in simple innovation diffusion curves, and the types of acceptance and resistance that would arise and be contained in a global flattening and its discontents form of context?

I am going to continue this discussion in a next series installment where I will address that question and its issues, with an at least first cut answer as to how it might be addressed, and ideally at least in operational terms from a business cycle perspective. In the course of doing that, I will step back to reconsider Points 1 and 2 from the above list again. In anticipation of that discussion to come, this will mean, at least in part, a reconsideration of demographic groups and their members, and how they are behaviorally defined: from within or by outside shaping pressures or both. Then after completing that narrative line, at least for purposes of this series and this stage in it, I will continue on to consider the above Point 3 and following.

Meanwhile, you can find this and related postings and series at Business Strategy and Operations – 5, and also at Page 1, Page 2, Page 3 and Page 4 of that directory. And see also Ubiquitous Computing and Communications – everywhere all the time and its Page 2 and Page 3 continuations.

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