A really really better mousetrap

Turns out, if you build a better mousetrap — a really really better mouse trap — they will come.

Building a better mousetrap is something inventors do. And while the concept of innovation has overtaken the concept of invention — with broader scope to include things like process innovation or business model innovation, invention often resides at the core of much innovation.

It has also become somewhat trendy to disparage the better mousetrap, explaining that simply building one is not enough. That you need a business plan around it, that you need culture, process, and seed money to take that mouse trap to the market and make money from it.

But let’s just focus on the building part for a moment shall we ? Funding, marketing, strategy are all important, but unless you have a better trap to begin with nothing else matters.

Thing is, though, the mousetrap had better be really, really good. I mean it better bloody rock.

In communications for example, the minute IP based connectivity was born, it was always going to win over circuit based communications. Sure it took several decades for the technology to become mainstream, but the technology was so obviously better that it was always going to win.

The internet was first thought up in the 60’s and didn’t go mainstream till the 90’s. But it was just such an efficient thing that it was always destined for success. Then the 90’s overhyped it and we got the dot-com bubble correction and we thought we’d gotten ahead of ourselves. But we hadn’t really. Another 20 years and here we are with internet truly changing everything from personal lives to national histories. A wonderful mousetrap indeed.

Same goes for renewable energy today. It will win. Period. The industry around it goes up and down. Sometimes they get subsidy, sometimes they don’t, sometimes the oil prices are up, sometimes they are down. It doesn’t matter. The ability to infinitely convert sunshine into charging stuff ? are you kidding ?? of course it will win!! Why would you want to wait millions of years for substrate oil to form before you harvest it for energy, when you can harvest sunshine every single day. Forever. Indefinitely. It is the ultimate better mousetrap, and it will win.

So yes, let’s focus on process innovation and business savvy and economic stimulus. But lets also keep making the mouse trap better and better and better. Let’s make sure we have at least some people who don’t care about quarterly sales reports or fancy powerpoint pitches and just want to make the best damn mousetrap ever known to mankind.