Innovation is About Connecting the Dots…

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Steve Jobs knew how to make connections. The MagTech AC adaptor for the mac laptops were actually a connection he made between his product and the magnetic power chords that accompanied rice cookers selling in Japan.  The magnetic AC power adaptor was an impressive innovation.

Picture a rice cooker simmering away and a child running through, tripping on the chord, knocking the wok over, contents going everywhere, 3rd degree burns…Enter the MagTech AC adaptor – rice cooker is simmering away, child runs through, trips on the chord, chord detached from wok, child continues on. Jobs made a connection, adopted the idea – and adapted it at Apple. Trip on the chord and the computer won’t come crashing down, smashing into a gazillion pieces, causing heartache and stress! I may have slightly exaggerated the scenario but you get the picture.

Human beings are adaptable creatures. Maybe we should ask more often how we can adopt and adapt ideas from one industry into another. A great example of this being accomplished successfully is the use of sensors. Sensors are used in homes and in businesses as triggers for security systems. Sensors trigger the alarm if anyone breaks into your home or business – or in my case if a spider crawls over them. The auto industry adopted the use of sensors for other security reasons – to prevent accidents. The technology of sensors has been adapted to assist people with sight impairments – same concept – adopted into different industries. What’s more, the sensors used for Google’s driverless cars at first was around $200K. Two years later that was down to $75K. Today we are looking at a cost of a little under $1K.

And look at how the mobile phone has evolved. From the early days when it was tasked only with making a mobile call, to its modern day iteration of phone, txt , email receiver, music source, picture taker, film producer, game source – one idea – so many different applications – and how many apps do we now have!

Which brings us to the collaboration of ideas and that opens up a whole new realm of possibilities. Richard Branson’s space shuttle, when it finally takes off, will be an historic occasion bringing together space travel and tourism. Can you think of two more once upon a time remotely connected industries coming together to create new possibilities? That is if 3D virtual reality travel, being developed  by Microsoft and known as Holoportation doesn’t take over first.

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