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What Were the Influences on the Development of a Successful Innovation? Case Study Example

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Case Study

One bright spot in an otherwise bleak business outlook for the newspaper industry has been the success that innovation, particularly digital innovation, has evidenced in raising revenues for individual newspaper companies.  Anthony Carranza’s article “Newspapers Discover Successful Business Models Through Innovation” (2013) examines four innovative newspapers that have attained positive results in the digital age. One of the provocative examples of successful innovation that is mentioned in the article is that of The (Salt Lake City) Deseret News. This newspaper, according to Carranza grew revenues at “ 40% a year since 2010, while daily and Sunday circulation jumped about 33% and 90% respectively from September 2011 to September 2012.” (Carranza, 2013).  Most the growth of the newspaper is attributable to a revamped and more tightly focused editorial vision for the paper and the launching of a digital company.  Obviously, the newspaper shows the positive benefit of successful innovation.

The reason that the innovation of rebooting the newspaper in a more streamlined but national capacity, coupled with a digital presence, worked is because the innovations were tailored to the specific needs of the newspaper’s prospective audience. the innovations matched the actual needs of the people. As mentioned by Carranza, innovation on the digital side by the newspaper industry is the most significant area where change is needed and where it can currently produce the most significant results. Carranza writes that “the digital business is the mammal, the new life form designed to dominate the future.”  (Carranza, 2013). therefore, teh changes and innovations made by The (Salt Lake City) Deseret News are those which speak to the future and to the adaptability of the present.  What this indicates about the nature of innovation itself is that innovation is only as profound nd successful as it is functional and pragmatic.  The innovative changes to accommodate the new digital age that made by newspapers have proved successful because they are rooted in functionality.

By contrast, a failed business innovation is demonstrated in Chris Gentilviso’s article  “Worst Inventions: Phone Fingers” (2010). In this instance, the idea of innovation rising to met the needs of contemporary consumers is present but misses the mark in terms of practicality. The article details how an Austrian company launched a product that was aimed at the fast-growing segment of  phone users. The company focused on those who disliked fingerprints on their screens and “ found a novel solution for this present-day quandary: cover your digits with latex accessories known as Phone Fingers.” (Gentilviso, 2010). The product design would therefore seem to be smartly targeted toward an existing market-base.

The only problem with the innovation was that it turned out that nobody wanted the Phone Fingers. Two main reasons emerged for the  lack of consumer interest: first, that the Phone Fingers were difficult to put on and take off and second, that people by and large disliked wearing them. As Gentilviso points out, “The only problem for buyers was getting the fingers on and off with any semblance of ease”  (Gentilviso, 2010). By not factoring in the practical consumer element of the Phone Fngers innovation, the company that marketed the product wound up taking a huge financial loss. in the long run, the story of the failure of Phone Fingers is very valuable as a lesson of how an innovation can be attractive but functionally detrimental.

The Phone Fingers at first gance seem to be a reflection of innovative market response and adaptability. they proved, in actual use, to be unpopular with consumers. By examining the reason for the failure of the product, lessons can be learned — most obviously those which pertain to solid test marketing and research. However, the  fine line between innovation and failure is always present. The challenge in business is to ascertain the risk and benefit ratio of any prospective innovation. Even with the best of luck and best of intentions it is still always possible for the most inspired innovations to fail. It is also the case that innovation is a necessary aspect of any successful business or venture.

References

Carranza, Anthony.  “Newspapers discover successful business models through innovation” Feb 11, 2013; www.digitaljournal.com; accessed 3-2-13; http://digitaljournal.com/article/343293#ixzz2MddzKkJr

Gentilviso, Chris. Worst Inventions: Phone Fingers. May 27, 2010; www.time.com; accessed 3-2-13; http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1991915_1991909_1991750,00.html #ixzz2MdY6gemb

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