New products for 2012 betray a worrying trend of slowing innovation

Tide Pods - Trend alert: 10 new products to watch for in 2012, but is this innovation?

“Innovative” products for 2012: Trend alert: USATODAY.com

Looking through these “new products to watch out for” in 2012, one can’t help but think this is the fallout of a world that has been in economic decline so long, that this is the best we can do.

These aren’t really true innovations, are they? Perhaps I’m wrong, but all I see here are needlessly and ever-so-mildly improved basic products with a premium price tag. I scoff when advertisers call this “innovation” or “revolutionary” or that it will “change the way you do X” forever. Really?

Let’s take the new pre-packaged, single-pack detergent pods for example. Besides my suspicion that they are probably, in practice, not quite enough to comfortably do a full load, forcing you to use two, is this really a “touchless cleaning” revolution? How touchy was the old method? As one commenter put it:

A College Student‘s Steps to using Liquid Detergent:

1. Twist Cap.
2. Pour Detergent to correct fill line, usually 3.
3. Pour on clothes.
4. Replace cap.
5. Think about how much money he isn’t wasting by using pods.

Don’t get me wrong. We all need ‘new’ products, they keep a retail economy running. But there’s a clear difference between true innovation and product improvement, and lazy, mere “repackaging” of the same old 30-year-old shit we’re still using today. A true innovation would be a detergent that requires only a single drop to do a whole load, leaving much less impact on the environment. Instead, we will now be adding to our grey water with dissolved plastics.

2012 already has a number of these trends taking off and it has me worried that in an ever-gloomy global economy, the world is just throwing in the towel on true research and development and instead, looking for cheap ways to justify releasing the same product with higher price tags, without actually “moving us forward” as consumers through true improvement.

Indeed, the ET Bureau had this to say in September last year, and it’s already proving true, not only in the IT technology sector.

Global research firm Forrester Research has warned that the global demand for technology will grow at half the pace next year, compared to this year, on account of the economic weakness in several geographies. Growth in demand for technology will be 5.5% next year compared to 11.5% in 2011, when it will reach $2 trillion. CEOs of top Indian technology firms have also been raising the red flag, saying that clients have started to delay decision making and though they have not seen any project cancellations or IT budget cuts yet, they could see an impact on IT budgets for 2012.

 

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Categories: Business

Author:Andrew Beato

CEO, Chief Editor and founder of Intentious. Passionate comment enthusiast, amateur philosopher, Quora contributor, audiobook and general knowledge addict.

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2 Comments on “New products for 2012 betray a worrying trend of slowing innovation”

  1. February 23, 2012 at 1:18 pm #

    I think it is a mediocrity that comes from the NIMBY philosophy of being risk adverse and avoiding new things. The biggest example of this to me is going to Jakarta and looking at the shopping malls there: 7 stories tall with built in condominum and including a carpark. Would we ever see such a building in Melbourne?

    When we refuse make significant things, is it no surprise that little and trivial things are considered “major innovations?”

  2. gwallan
    February 28, 2012 at 8:04 pm #

    Oh, please give us more shopping malls. Cathedrals to crass materialism. Temples to idolatry. Don’t we have enough things already?

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