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January 21, 2008

I thrive on innovation and only one thing keeps me from adopting all sorts of new technology into my life: money. That’s why it is so much fun to work for an employer who provides ever-better technology and gadgets. My longtime employer, TVFR was like that. We were cutting-edge in the emergency services industry and leading the way in many areas. Because of that I was able to try out all sorts of new products and gadgets. It was fun.

This article, which I spotted in the New York Times today, really caught my attention:

The Risk of Innovation: Will Anyone Embrace It?

Whether humans will embrace or resist an innovation is the billion-dollar question facing designers of novel products and services. Why do people adapt to some new technologies and not to others? Fortunes are made and lost on the answer.

This is the “billion-dollar” question in my life. I love new ideas and I”m constantly looking for new ways to improve things. The average joe says, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” I say, “break it, let’s see what makes it tick and see if we can do it better.” People hate me.

As an emergency services innovator, many of my ideas were embraced and many were rejected. As the above article states, there was sometimes no rhyme or reason to why people accepted or rejected the ideas. The hardest part for me was when people rejected an idea without promoteip2.gifexplanation. I figured, if they understood it, great – now they have the right to reject it. But if they don’t understand it, and still reject it – well, that confused me.

This is one reason I’m so looking forward to Ignite Portland 2 on February 5th. I love new ideas.

  1. smedvidofsky permalink
    January 21, 2008 8:18 am

    I love innovation too and I commented on this article as well. I make a point that companies that want innovation need to work at it because it just does not happen. Giving a tech allowance is a great way for companies to work on innovation.

    I’m just curious, did your employer require that you evaluate the gadgets you got to try out? If so, how was the process handled?


  2. Gary Walter permalink*
    January 21, 2008 10:11 am

    Yes, my previous employer had a lot of trial systems in place. I chaired a special projects committee that evaluated new tools and new ideas.

    Generally we would evaluate new technology and seek the best tool for our application. Because we were a government agency, we then would have to run this into the budget process and seek the lowest bidder. In the meantime we would prototype one or two items in the field.

    However, some of the best fun came when sales reps would come through seeking our input. There are advantages to being big and influential. I’ve been allowed to personally try some really fun tools.


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