The Innovation Reputation

With Twitter’s @anywhere launch and Google’s foray into television, it seems appropriate to focus this week’s Reputation Wrap-Up on innovation – how do innovators maintain those reputations, particularly when innovations fall flat? The answer: by innovating continuously, and hitting the mark the majority of the time.

People were unimpressed by Apple’s iPad – basically a giant iPhone that only allows you to have one program/application open at a time. But, while the initial launch fell flat, Engadget published a survey indicating initial demand was greater than it was for the iPhone. Why? Apple’s viewed as an innovator. It has invested years and years and significant dollars into innovation, and it’s paid off – Apple is synonymous with innovation. And when you have a reputation that strong, your reputation endures and drives the product, even if the product’s not that impressive. (Quick aside: you need a steady stream of products that are actually impressive, as well.)

Image courtesy of Apple, Inc.

Fast forward to this week and Twitter’s launch of @anywhere. As one of the leading social networks, this launch was much anticipated, but the reception was lukewarm and the technology not as impressive/revolutionary as people hoped. We won’t spend a lot of time here, as my illustrious colleague has already covered this launch, but I must ask the question: how will this affect Twitter’s reputation…or will it? Much like Apple has become indispensible for gadget guys and gals, Twitter has become an indispensible form of communication for a wide variety of publics – journalists, students, retailers and politicians, to name just a few. So @anywhere doesn’t really add functionality that didn’t previously exist…so what? Twitter created a lot of buzz and gained attention around innovation.

So Twitter opens the week, and Google closes it. According to The Wall Street Journal: Google Inc. has lined up some big partners—including Intel Corp. and Sony Corp.—in the Internet giant’s recent quest to move its technology into the living room…the joint effort, which is in its preliminary stages, includes software to help users navigate among Web-based offerings on television sets and serve as a platform for other developers to target in creating new programs, these people say. The technology could be included with future TVs, Blu-ray players or set-top boxes… Google continues to dominate innovation – always one step ahead.

It will be interesting to watch Google’s foray into television, and what becomes of the iPad and @anywhere. I predict they’re widely adopted despite the initial reception, just as other Apple products and Twitter have been thus far.

Just for fun, a few ideas to fuel your own innovation, thanks to Keri Smith. If these inspire you, read all 100 of her ideas. I think I’m going to try to do all of them… I’ll let you know how it goes.

  • Go for a walk. Draw or list things you find on the sidewalk.
  • Write a letter to yourself in the future.
  • Buy something inexpensive as a symbol for your need to create (e.g.: new pen, a tea cup, journal). Use it everyday.
  • Draw your dinner.
  • Find a piece of poetry you respond to. Rewrite it and glue it into your journal.
  • Glue an envelope into your journal. For one week collect items you find on the street.
  • Illustrate your grocery list.
  • Read a story out loud to a friend.
  • Write a letter to someone you admire.
  • Study the face of someone you do not like.
  • Make a meal based on a color theme (i.e. all white)
  • Give away something you love.

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