I love being an early bird for new apps, I’m super-excited about new technology trends and, somehow, I buy a new phone about once a year. A quick diagnosis will probably point I’m a slave of innovation. Innovation is great, but it can be a curse if not treated the right way.
Innovation is the way, not the solution
I’m working in an organization that’s always chasing innovation. Projects might be prioritized over others not by their importance, but by their opportunity to be innovative. A good product is measured by its ability to solve a problem, not by how innovative it is. Hell, how do you even measure an innovative product?
Innovation != Connection
Making a connection takes time. Your best friend didn’t become your best friend over night, and your skills didn’t develop in five minutes of training. Only after a certain amount of time, you’ll feel this connection — The trust you have in your best friend, the ability to grab the guitar and play your favorite song, or the confidence of riding a bike alone.
Design is about solving problems
Sometimes you have to stop and ask yourself “Am I satisfied? Do I have a problem I need to solve?”. Of course, as Henry Ford proved, sometimes people don’t know what they really need (“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses”), but, after hearing too many idiots quoting Steve Jobs, quoting this quote by Henry Ford, I understood this is a cheap excuse to invent stupid inventions that are really not what people want, or need.
Creating a new way of doing something isn’t necessarily creating a better way of doing it.
Take a look, for instance at my 35mm film camera — Nikon F3, released in 1980, and still working like the piece of art it is. This camera was designed to answer a need — shooting great pictures in a simple and ergonomic way. The F3 answers that need so good, people are still using it and acknowledging its quality, more than 30 years after its release.
Stop creating stuff!!!
As I said earlier, I’m all into technology, but I can’t stand things to become so disposable. It’s like products are manufactured with an expiration date, in order to give the stage to the next year’s products to fix the problems they cause. This way, every year you’re introduced to the new air conditioner that cools the air 8 times better that the old last-year-model-air-conditioner you have. It’s a f*cking air conditioner. It conditions the air and it does it excellent.
The need for stability
I’ve talked to Gal, who is a good friend of mine and an awesome developer, and he said:
“I’ve been a developer for quite a while now, and never have I experienced such a rapid and frantic pace of change. There’s a new, exciting, cutting edge (…and bleeding edge) MVC every day now. It can be really frustrating to both a beginner and an experienced developer, because you always feel like you’re behind all the cool kids. So jQuery is soooo last year… What should I learn now? React? Vue? Angular? Wait, there’s Angular 1 and 2, which are completely different… and 4 is just around the corner! Eh… what happened to Angular 3? Oh right, they just skipped it, that makes tons of sense. And if jQuery was all the rage not that long ago, but no developer with self-respect would actually use it today, then what’s my guarantee that this won’t happen to Angular or React in 2018? We don’t want another framework; we just need some stability.”
Good innovative design is an adapting one
This tendency of always looking for the new model or the new technology makes it hard to work and be better, because it forces you to follow trends, more than to have a better base set of skills, and that sabotages your personal and unique style. I’m not saying trends are bad, but I think the whole innovation-first approach makes everything else seem blurry, to the decision makers.
I just realized…
I hate the word innovation. I hate everything it stands for. Innovation should be like air — It’s there, it’s important, but it doesn’t need to be mentioned. Products shouldn’t be driven by innovation, they should be driven by a problem needed to be solved, and by the passion of doing it in the best suitable way.
Have you ever stumbled upon this innovation-first approach? How did it affect your normal work? Tell me about it in the comments.