Thursday, March 15, 2012

"Nostalgia, you’re just good for one day"...THE CASE FOR INNOVATION

You may have noticed that Hollywood likes making sequels, reboots, and re-imagining of treasured classics, books, and other movies. Some have said that Hollywood could simply be running out of ideas and this is the only way that they’re coming up with any “new” content at all.

That raises an interesting conundrum, not only in the realm of movie-making, but also in the course of running any other kind of business too. Do you capitalize on what is familiar, giving it a slightly new twist to appeal to an existing audience? Or do you take the risk of being something completely different, innovating your industry in a new direction of some sort?

We’ve all sat in business planning meetings listening to colleagues trying to reinvent the wheel with initiatives that were implemented (and in some cases failed) years ago while shooting down new ideas that are offered up.  These are the same colleagues that don’t respond to emails and think you are silly because you have a Facebook page and profile on linked in.  As Bob Dylan so eloquently said

You’ve got a face, a soul, and a name
But if you stay we both will go insane
Nostalgia, you’re just good for one day

There are certainly pros and cons to both approaches. Let’s say that you are opening a new restaurant, for instance. If you take the former route, you would take some time-honored recipes and do your best to live up to those old expectations. You want to make that classic dish better than anyone else, but there is a distinct possibility that you’ll just get lost in the crowd of everyone else making the same dish.

On the flip side, if you take the latter route, you’ll come up with brand new recipes that are unlike anything that anyone else in the city offers. You may attract that initial novelty factor from new clients, but will you be able to retain them in the long term? More importantly, will they like your new and fresh approach at all?

What do you think? Is it better to capitalize on nostalgia or novelty when it comes to your product offerings?

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