Here's a thought which I didn't really have much time to work on... But let's put it here to see if it catches on (and you can substitute the word "process" for "technology" in the following sentences):

When users have something they wish to accomplish, and you develop technology for it - that is evolution.

When you develop technology, and suddenly you have users who want to do something with it, something they couldn't do before - that is revolution.

Revolutionary steps aren't always bigger than evolutionary steps, even though we often think that way. But they in general enable new, interesting venues by jerking loose something which goes above and beyond of what we normally perceive.

I guess this is one of the reasons why it is important to listen to your users, but not do blindly as they suggest. You can only do incremental evolution, but you can never appear at a revolution, if you do. If guys at Xerox PARC had listened to the users, who wanted to have bigger monitors in order to have larger spreadsheets, we wouldn't have windows and icons and pointers these days, which would've kept computing out of regular Joe's hands.

(Of course, there's heck of a lot of technology which is developed and never gets any users, so they hardly count as a revolution.)


Well, this sounds very much like the lead user theory (Hippel etc.): by asking your current users, you add evolutionary new features that satisfy your current users but you don't get new users or find new markets for you stuff. By asking from lead users, you might get something your current users didn't think about but might be a "revolution" leading to new products, users, markets etc.

--Jukka Eklund, 15-Aug-2008

Figured someone smarter had thought it up first :-). But I wasn't really thinking about lead users, just developing technology for the fun of it.

--JanneJalkanen, 15-Aug-2008

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"Main_blogentry_140808_1" last changed on 14-Aug-2008 16:39:03 EEST by JanneJalkanen.