Iteration through History
The only constant for any business, large or small, has been the concept of change. It has been a part of history since the dawn of innovation. Man’s quest to find the next best thing and to improve on what he has made is a natural instinct. Our ability to adapt and find new, better ways to do what we do is a fundamental cornerstone of human evolution.
The Car Industry
One example of this is the motor industry, we are constantly seeing small, incremental changes that produce amazing results and inevitably deliver immediate impact. The Car (Iteration over time and re-inventing the same car range over time) The automotive industry produces the same version of a car over and over and just keeps iterating on it and consumers buy it, without question.
As consumers, we crave the latest version of the same car. We are excited by the idea of a new iteration whether this is a new GPS or an upgrade to the interior, as a consumer, it comes down to staying relevant. This is what makes a consumer purchase the same product over and over without considering that the previous version was probably doing the same job. Like the car, the buyer goes through many different phases of their life, and car companies have mastered the art of using this natural flow to upgrade existing products and slightly adapting it to suit the lifestyle of the consumer.
The automotive industry simply anticipates these natural flows in growth and builds on the idea that a car range can adapt to the ever-changing life cycle of the average person. These manufacturers have a lifetime supply of customers who will keep buying until they eventually make their way through the entire catalogue of cars, perfectly designed for each stage of their consumers' lives
Similarly, video games also use iteration to produce small, but powerful improvements to their IP which builds a cult-like following amongst their audience. A classic example of this is the game FIFA, a football game that is simply renamed by the year it is released in. Essentially the principle of the game stays the same, it is 11 vs 11 players and you the user can choose your team and play against the CPU. Over the years new features like online play, single-player campaigns, and manager modes have enhanced the experience, but after 12 years in the market, the product at its core is still the same. The newer versions have had fewer iterations and there will most likely only be a few fundamentals that change every few years, but it will be adapted from the base idea of having a game that allows players to play football. The ability to take an existing product and add a few tweaks while still making it desirable is a marvel in gathering insights from the source and putting it back into the product. “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it, said no innovator ever.”
The Telephone - Iteration creates long-term change
The Telephone was first invented by Alexander Graham Bell in 1872 and then truly pioneered by Steve Jobs in 2007 with the presentation of the iPhone which left most innovators in awe as nobody could have predicted how truly revolutionary this piece of technology would become. It is now an essential device in every part of the world. It has changed the way the world communicates, its affected global culture and most importantly it has become a source of limitless accessibility. Now with every new year the much antiquated iPhone or the latest smartphone is a renewed cycle of iteration on last year's version, the improvements seem to be getting smaller, but they still occur and make the pocket more powerful with every piece of tech that gets squeezed into it. It will take another moment of genius to re-invent this marvel of technology but the takeaway here is that even a device that was first conceived in the 1800s is still today making itself relevant because it has been re-imagined so many times.
So what now?
The question of evolution and technology being the same seems irrelevant when looking at the innovators that have dominated their industries. If they have taught us anything it would be that staying static is the enemy of progress, and although I am not saying change your website, app or product every day, instead, the idea is to understand that as we work in a living, breathing ecosystem. We need to recognise that our platforms have to adapt and change so they can deliver the best results possible. We should always be aware that the opportunity exists to unlock tremendous potential if we are willing to take the time, look at the data, gather the insights, implement the theory and iterate until we start seeing a positive impact.
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