2012 round up part 6 – innovation saturation

2012 was the year of innovation saturation, where the term entered the household lexicon and hit religious-like status among business people and politicians alike.  Innovation as a solve-all was heavily bantered around 2012’s U.S. Presidential elections. There was also no shortage of politicians on the international stage oversimplifying the solution to their countries’ economic woes with the need for “more innovation.”

Despite all the clutter when good innovation collided with good design we were blessed with everything from lustful products like Tesla’s Model S electric car to Philips’ Hue light bulb (yes, a light bulb), the brave new world of Microsoft, and data-mashing hip-hop videos created in a Oakland bedroom that showed far more creativity than the tired clichés cranked out by the big artists.

While the tech world certainly dominated the “innovation” conversation, a favorite example came not in the guise of a new app but rather a new ski. Tiny California local boys Praxis Skis caught wind of a post on a ski forum where posters described their utopian backcountry ski. A couple months and many conversations later the ski was available on their web store and appropriately named after the original poster. This is nimble, targeted and engaged innovation at its best.

With help from some clever people down the road from MB’s SF studio, 2012 also brought behavioral solidification to my multi-screen device usage. With five screens (phone, tablet, laptop, desktop, TV) all jostling for some “me” time, 2012 was the year it really sorted itself out thanks to some wonderfully designed apps. The rebranded app Pocket was the lynch pin of my multi-screen world, able to grab, save and organize articles, photos and videos across all screens, bar the TV, in a seamless and pleasing way. Google’s Chrome browser, finally available on the iPad, became my primary internet portal, syncing bookmarks, tabs and open pages without fail on all my devices and Evernote let me capture thoughts on the go and return to them on any screen, creating a barrier free, stream of conscious as I moved throughout the Bay Area.

But, of all the screens flickering across my eyes throughout the day it was the lowly desktop that provided the most enjoyable experience. With 27 inches of HD real estate, the fastest connectivity, powerful music and editing software I found myself using, even longing, for time at the desk for the first time in years. It will be fascinating to see in 2013, as interface goes all touch, voice, and gesture and our homes get smarter, if innovation finds its way back to the forgotten PC.

Really, at the end of the day, who cares about innovation when THIS happened in 2012!