Innovation

Everyday Disruption: Innovation is More Than Just the Latest Gadget

Innovation, we seem to think, is limited to the high tech, to cutting edge gadgetry and sleek, space-age designs; innovation is the fresh and new, the overtly cool and geeky. But that’s not true. Not at all.

Lightbulbs. I’ve been writing about innovation and disruption full time for five years now. In that time, I’ve covered the slow move of 3D printing to the mainstream, the lightning fast acceleration of the Internet of Things, all of the promise and potential of wearables and virtual reality, plus all the robots you could ever imagine.

I’ve covered just about every major sci-fi-inspired tech innovation of our sci-fi-inspired age and I’ve called them each, in turn, a revolution. A disruption. A game-changer.

Today, I wrote about lightbulbs. I wrote about lightbulbs and I used the same adjectives and the same enthusiastic hyperbole I use to describe flying cars and self-driving taxis.

And that surprised me, honestly.

Over the years, I’ve fallen into the trap that I think many of us find ourselves in: Innovation, we seem to think, is limited to the high tech, to cutting edge gadgetry and sleek, space-age designs; innovation is the fresh and new, the overtly cool and geeky.

But that’s not true. Not at all.

Innovation is everywhere. It’s in the mundane, the overlooks, the everyday tools we use in our everyday lives. Everything from HVAC systems and wrenches to staplers and pens are evolving constantly, requiring a million brilliant acts of innovation and ingenuity. Flip through the pages of NED this month, or any month, and it is chock full of innovation, big and small.

Some of them make our lives easier. Some of them, like the direct replacement LED technologies discussed in our cover story this month, can save us tens of thousands of dollars.

But all of them are disruptions. All of them are revolutions.

And this is an important thing to remember in the industry today.

We don’t have to look for Apple for innovations. We don’t have to wait for the sexy, new gadgets and brilliant software suites to change everything. Sometimes it’s sitting right in front of you already; sometimes it’s already flowing right overhead, just waiting for you to notice.

So, yes. Lightbulbs. This month, the universal symbol for innovation can serve as a reminder of that everyday innovations are everywhere, all of them ready to change everything.

- Travis Hessman
Editor-in-Chief
New Equipment Digest

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