Consumer vs Innovation: Blindfold of the current market

The big words in the business world today are ‘big data’ and ‘data analysis’. Companies are pulling their hair out trying to figure out how to best utilize the data that they have. In today’s connected world, the influx of data is huge and the pressure is on to find patterns in the unending, ever increasing inflow of data. And they need to figure out a way to stay competitive through data analysis but they should not fall into the trap of following consumers exclusively. When they start to follow consumer demands solely, something goes missing.

There is no spark of innovation in chasing after the market. Established companies often become unable to produce disruptive innovation. They keep running after their existing market and they forget that almost all the big markets that we have today were created by disruptive innovation that was once considered either unnecessary, useless or impractical by established markets and the people sitting at the top. The telephone, the internet, railways, computers, airplanes, iPhone. There were many people that thought all of the these were useless and that they had to follow the market. They didn’t understand that although there was no market at the time, consumers will respond to innovation. It is the same with every big innovation. Yes, it is a risk. But that is the only way that we can skip past iterative innovation and move on to something radically different or better.

One of the problems with many companies today is that they look at profitability in short-term but do not give as much thought to long-term business sustainability. Companies need to have an eye on the future always and should not be blindfolded by short-term benefits of concentrating exclusively on consumer demands. It was lack of vision and innovation that drove companies like Blackberry (under RIM) and Nokia into the ground. They lost the innovative drive that they used to have. They started focusing on short-term benefits found in following the market.

Indeed, it is very important to thrive and find ways to be competitive in the current market, catering to the needs and wants of the consumers but it should not become a roadblock to innovation and a blindfold to vision. If a company is too fixated on analyzing and understanding current trends alone and is incapable of producing disruptive innovation and rethinking its processes, it will one day be run out of business by another company disrupting the market.

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