Product Innovation: Are Your Products Becoming Obsolete?

By | August 4, 2010

Over the last decade a number of things have become obsolete because of innovation, or are virtually on life support. It’s easy to spot in other people’s products and services that are obsolete, but what about your own? After reading this list, reflect on your business. What are the products, services, habits, marketing approaches, and managerial methods that are obsolete in your business. Is your business ready?

1. The busy signal

Phone technology has advanced so much we rarely hear a busy signal any more. Call waiting and voice mail have made hearing the busy signal obsolete. Ask a young person what does a busy signal sound like, and watch the look they give you.

2. Dial up modem

Once again a sound that you hardly hear anymore is the electronic gurgling of a dial up modem searching then making a connection. 10 years ago this was the common Internet connection, today it is pretty much gone from existence.

3. The “Blind” date

Once upon a time when you were fixed up on a blind date you had no clue who the person was or anything about her other than what your friend told you about her. Today with Google, Facebook, Myspace, and Twitter there is an encyclopedia of knowledge you can obtain before actually meeting in person. Which begs the question: Are you using these tools to learn about prospects before calling on them?

4. Poor TV reception

No more rabbit ears and tin foil to find the best channel reception. We have more than 4 stations to pick from as well. CBS, NBC, ABC and PBS were about all the choices you had and getting them watchable was an exercise.

5. Waiting to get photos developed

Photo technology has changed from waiting a few days to get back vacation pictures to having them on your computer in five minutes. Almost unlimited capacity and no waiting are the code words of the photo industry today.

6. Answering machine

Along with the busy signal the small answering machine box has all but disappeared in its short lived life span. This product was being replaced almost as fast as it was invented. It had a very short life cycle.

7. A calculator watch

We no longer need watches with tiny button to do basic calculations on. In fact, we no longer are in need of wrist watches to tell time. Good thing the industry decided to market them as status and jewelry accessories.

8. Floppy disk

Ten years ago portable memory was on 3.5 inch disks that held so little memory capacity; most current programs wouldn’t fit on ten of them. Today, thumb drives, and portable hard drives the size of transistor radios (remember them?) make memory capacity readily available. Expect these devices to go the way of floppy disks in the near future as well with the advance of cloud computing.

9. Car cigarette lighters

The ubiquitous cigarette lighter was on the dash board of every car. Who knew that penny-sized hole would transform into an electronics charging port? The lighters don’t even come with the port anymore as the transformation from lighter to charger port is complete.

10. Getting an AOL disk in the mail

Monthly I was getting a disk of free minutes for AOL. Snail mail spam as it were. When was the last time you saw one of those? AOL the pioneer of online connection is lost in the vast number of ways to access the all important information highway.

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