The Box — Great reading for Product Managers on Innovation Adoption

Recently I’ve been reading a book by Marc Levinson called “The Box” — its an exhaustive look at the history and evolution of the shipping container and the way such a simple thing has dramatically disrupted global trade and our lives.

The thing that has stood out to me is how clearly you can see the innovation adoption life cycle. There were clear early adopters such as Malcom McLean — what is interesting is to read of the challenges he faced with government regulation and their difficulty being able to comprehend this new medium.

The crane builders freaked out at this new type of crane, much mystical disbelief was expressed over boxes on top of a ship which would either fall in the ocean or cause the ship to topple.

As a futurist I look at this retrospectively and think “come on guys, what was the big deal? It was the obvious way forward.”

The same could be said now of drones. To me it seems blatantly obvious that I would want to have a burrito delivered to my car as it drives itself down the highway but government regulators are freaking out about it. Come on guys… it’s the obvious way forward.

Taking this a step beyond I was recently wondering who would be first to combine the automated drone concept with shipping containers. Just imagine strings of power efficient multi propeller shipping containers flying across oceans. Something about fuel weight to power ratio makes me think it might be a challenge.

Obviously others are thinking of this: