Today I want to discuss the topic of innovation and change.
I was recently asked to be on a panel with four experts in the publishing industry.
The burning question of the session was:
“How has innovation changed the publishing industry?”
You could feel the audience nervously shift in their seats.
They knew this was a sensitive and wound-filled topic.
The print media moguls who once dominated the global newsstands were now being walloped from every direction by digital and technological innovations.
To prove their innovativeness each “expert” gave their best bleeding edge answer.
“On-demand printing is the wave of the future!” the first one cried.
“E-books!” interrupted the second. “E-books are what turned our industry upside down!”
And still another went on a social-media rant (that was no doubt tweeted and retweeted 100 times from the room). “The world of publishing as we knew it has forever changed,” the fourth expert stated with a profound and slightly ominous tone.
And then it was my turn to speak.
With all eyes on me, I took a deep breath and said the one thing no one expected, “More has not changed than has changed.” There was a slight gasp from the audience and I could feel the other panelists’ shocked and angry stares on my back. But I continued, “People are getting caught up in chasing the change and forgetting what this business is actually about—people.”
I wasn’t being cute. It is true.
While technology has changed and evolved dramatically, people haven’t.
People still have worries, fears, desires, hopes and ambitions.
They want to be moved, validated, cared for and respected.
It doesn’t matter the technology, platform or medium through which you reach them—people are still people. And as Peter Diamandis says,
“Humans haven’t had a software update in 200,000 years.”
As the moderator thanked us for participating and we were ushered off the stage, I couldn’t stop thinking about that question—and the mistake so many of us are making. Too often we hold out hope that technology or innovation is going to be the breakthrough for our business. That one more gadget or widget or app is going to make the difference. And of course, the telephone, fax machine, email, social media and the like all did incredible things to improve our ability to reach more people, but none of them guarantee that you’ll actually reach people. None of them guarantee that you will connect with people, move them, and affect them. That’s done through the message and content of what you are delivering through that technology.
Technology will continue to evolve and innovate—rapidly.
Human emotions and needs will not.
Remember that fact.
It’s the base essence of every business and it’s a constant.
Certainly you should stay up on the ways to improve, innovate and iterate on your processes, manufacturing, productivity and channels of communication. But don’t get so caught up in what’s new, shiny and innovative in that you forget what’s on the receiving end of every one of those innovations—a wonderful, beautiful, needy and hopeful human being looking to improve their very human experience and life. And that will never change.
So as we continue our theme of innovation and change this month, next week I will give you 8 practical ways you can integrate continual innovation into your own business, regardless of your product, service, marketplace or whether you have thousands of employees or whether you are still a guy or a gal starting up in your garage. Because if there is one thing for sure about the future, is it will be very different than the present and to keep up you are going to have to continually innovate—and fast. I will summarize and detail how in next week’s post. Make sure you are subscribed HERE so you don’t miss out!
What innovations does your team or company have, and how do you use those innovations to connect with more people? Share with us in the comments below!