INNOVATIONS IN DAY-TODAY CONVENIENCE

The idea

Creating innovative products for day-to-day convenience combines the financial benefits of being a first mover with the reward of creating a product that is used every day by many people.

An example of innovation in day-to-day convenience occurred in 1938, when Lazlo Biro while working as a journalist, noticed that the ink used in newspaper printing dried quickly. He worked with his brother, the chemist Georg Biro, to produce a pen with a rotating socket that picked up ink as it moved. The BIC version of this innovation is now a ubiquitous possession, with 14 million pens sold every day.

Another example of the drive for everyday convenience is the BlackBerry device. BlackBerry first made headway into the mobile communications market by concentrating on a portable email device, but now incorporates text messaging, cellphone, web browsing, and other wireless services. An impressive participant in the all-in-one convenience trend in modern technology, BlackBerry is now a common reference in popular culture and a favorite of businesspeople across the world. However, it is possible that BlackBerry did not innovate as far as it could have, with a storm 47 INNOVATIONS IN DAY-TO-DAY CONVENIENCE 111175-100 GI Business.indd 108 1/5/09 10:38:16 100 GREAT BUSINESS IDEAS • 109 of legal controversy surrounding originality. Regardless of this, both Biro and BlackBerry provide an important lesson: push creativity to its limits and find a way to provide simple, ubiquitous convenience.

In practice

• Try to design products with a focus on ease of use.

• Focus on the time-saving potential of the idea.

• Consider using deep-dive prototyping to develop, improve, and test the product.

• Don’t view things as impossible—consider how you can achieve things, not whether you can.

• Consider your everyday life—what products would you most like to see enter the market?

• Observe existing products and decide how they can be more convenient and user-friendly.

• Ensure you patent your inventions as soon as possible.

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