Innovative Antiques

7245061488_2d686cdfb0_bThe problem with innovation is that it doesn’t last.

Yesterday’s innovation is today’s antique.

That by no means is reason to not innovate. In fact, it is why we can never stop innovating. Apple is the number one company in the world right now for profitability and market cap because under Steve Jobs the company never stopped innovating. Even today, one product gets introduced and rumors start floating the next day about the next product.

Innovation is important. In fact it is vital. Without innovation, we would all still be living subsistence lifestyles with horses as our main form of transportation.

We must keep creating new ways, new products, new ideas, new perspectives. We can’t stop. That is hard. It is so easy to take a new idea and get comfortable with it thinking we have “arrived.” Everything we look at as old and outdated, at one time wasn’t. If we aren’t careful, the things we are so excited about now as new and progressive will become the dead weight old school way tomorrow. Because today’s innovation is tomorrow’s antique.

That last statement is the hard one. We understand the first because we see the old. Sometimes, we have a hard time seeing what is now an antique and ever believing it was innovative. Everything was new once.

Whether it is in a church, a school, a business, or in life, we must constantly be looking for ways to improve and better what we do and how we do it. That is not being disingenuous or in any way does it dishonor the past or present. It simply acknowledges that growth and improvement are always possible.

It is good to celebrate what is and what was. However, in our celebration, we must not get stuck in thinking that this is all there will be.

There are some famous quotes along this line:

  • The director of the US patent office resigned in 1875 and said, “There’s nothing left to invent.”
  • Bill Gates, CEO of Microsoft said in 1981, “640k of memory should be enough for anybody.”
  • The IBM CEO in 1943 said, “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.”
  • The New York Times in 1936, “A rocket will never be able to leave the Earth’s atmosphere.”
  • President of Western Union, William Orton in 1876, “The telephone has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication.”
  • Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer, 2007, “There’s no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance.”

These are just a few times where someone took at least a moment to sit back and think that innovation was no longer needed.

We need to innovate. We need to create and develop new. We can’t stop. If we do stop, we will be passed by and miss out on the thrill of what’s next. In an organization, if we stop innovating, we will decline and eventually fade away.

There are new paths to discover. New ways to be found. New ideas to be born. New things to accomplish. New dreams to pursue. Let’s get out there and keep innovating.

photo credit: Antique_typewriter via photopin (license)