Don't little changes make life better?


My son was looking at a picture of a rotary phone and said, "I don't understand how that phone even works.  How did you actually dial a number?" He used the word "dial" in his question, but he had zero idea of what physical dialing meant. I explained, as best I could, how you'd spin the holes around to dial each number and then, after dialing seven numbers,  the call would ring through.

"Wow! That must have been hard work." he replied

I didn't even mention getting a busy signal. He has no idea of the suffering.

Conversations like these remind me how easily  it is to take for granted the small, marginal improvements in life.

There's a reason "innovation" is one of the most overused words of the decade; people aren't impressed with evolutionary improvement, they are aiming for revolutionary changes.  They want to blow our collective minds.

I don't know about you, but I don't need that all of the time.

As a consumer, I enjoy when companies recognize my tension points and adjust to meet my needs in little ways.

There are a few, ordinary things for which I am routinely grateful.

For instance, don't you just love:

  • Starbucks' splash stick - saved my car interior countless times and keeps my tea at a perfect temperature
  • Electronic receipts - Nordstrom was the first retailer I used to give me this option and for the too-much-paper-in-the-wallet challenged, it's the BEST
  • Trash bags with odor protection - how hard was it to add a little fresh apple scent to my bags? I love not gagging when I throw something new away.
  • Flea pills - I remember bathing, powdering, collaring my dog to get rid of summer fleas and nothing worked.  Now preventing fleas is as easy as giving a dog a treat.  I LOVE THIS!

I could go on for days.

Are these innovations?  Maybe they were at some point, but even if they made "marginal" improvements, aren't the changes still worthwhile?

I thought you'd enjoy seeing one company that's "innovating" by bringing misshapen fruit to grocery stores and selling the odd balls at a discount.  They call this the "inglorious fruit & vegetable" campaign, which I love.

This won't blow your mind, any more than a Starbucks' splash stick, but if you're like me you'll wonder why this hasn't been done before.

Of course, the store is in France, and so the FDA isn't regulating what goes on the shelves, but the approach is brilliant.  This idea is great for both eliminating waste and increasing revenues.

Now if only we'd all eat our five servings, we'd be winning all around!