Innovation, like robots, require hard sell

My first experience with robots ended in a disaster. We had the Hero-II working after months of putting it together and learning what we could of integrated circuits, sensors, Motorola 60something chip, etc. The next morning we came in to set up a demonstration for senior management and nothing worked. Employees in the plant had decided the robot was a threat to their jobs, and found a way to put sand in the gearbox. Since then, most of my efforts in automation have been similarly attacked.

innovation is the hardest thing in the world to sell. Any innovation threatens the way we do things or have been doing things for years or forever.

Any inventor/entrepreneur will admit upon questioning that the first objection to their idea came from their own family, from their boss at work, from the people he/she associated with, from the club, the organization....

Innovation is not welcome in the human psyche. It has been proven by Dr. Ramachadran at the UCSD Brain Research Center. A tiny valve at the base of the human brain filters out any information, seen and real, proven in a laboratory a hundred times or more, or imagined, that does not conform to our accepted pattern of knowledge.

When the Australians went from six pence, shilling and pound to the Australian dollar of 100 pence to a dollar, some people committed suicide. They just could not take the treason brought about by the global capitalists against their well proven and working monetary system. During the Spanish inquisition Jews and Gypsies chose to be burned at the stake instead of simply pledging allegiance to Christianity. Sunnis and Shiites continue to kill each other because of nonsensical differences opinions on the name of God.

I'm starting a blog on the challenges of innovation and how some of us have succeeded and failed in our efforts to bring about change. We always base our reasoning on the idea that our ideas will help humanity in one form or other. Even if sometimes our inventions end up in the wrong hands.

And you should see the sparks fly in the Mexican Food forum when somebody dares to challenge authenticity by suggesting adding cumin to a traditional mole.


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Reply to
Wayne Lundberg
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Oh, quit whining.

Those who can, do. Those who can't, blog.

John Nagle

Reply to
John Nagle

I think this is a forest-for-the-trees problem. Certainly humans are creatures of habit, yet most of us are more than willing to try new things. Otherwise there would be no new TV shows, no new fashions (even those not based on the 60s), no new music, no new food, no trying out a new restaurant, no new pair of bluejeans. In fact, I think most of us would live our lives differently if we had the finances and the family social framework that allowed it. Things other than the abhorrence for change keep us doing the same things day after day.

The fact that there will always be Luddites in every walk of life doesn't mean innovation is universally snubbed. I think it's quite the opposite. In the 80s I used to write for Popular Science. For decades its subtitle has been the "What's New Magazine." I doubt they would have coined the phrase for a commercial business if people were so turned off to the idea of new things.

In the old West, nake oil salesmen generally had no problem selling the latest and greatest patent medicine, medical devices, and other "newfangled" products. They thrived on going to new cities where they were not known -- and before people figured out what they sold didn't work. They were selling fake innovation, but innovation just the same.

Finally, ask any kid who plays video games if they don't lust after the next game console yet to come out!

-- Gordon

Reply to
Gordon McComb

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