So advanced it doesn’t work
There is an assumption that innovation always leads to improvement.
This is a particular obsession with the weapons industry.
The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter was designed to set the standard for modern fighter jets by adopting the very latest technology.
However, the designers were so busy making it innovative they forgot to make it work.
It’s complexity makes it compromised: it has a shorter range, smaller payload and higher maintenance costs than its Russian and Chinese equivalents.
In trying to be the best, it ended up being the worst.
This is an extraordinary oversight considering the costs involved. How did this happen?
When we’re designing the replacement for something there’s a tendency to want to equip it with the latest technology. Put simply, we have a bias for innovation.
We’re quick to forget that the best designs are often the most simple and rely on tried and tested technology.
Think of the Dualit toaster, the Boeing 737, or the Porsche 911. Each new model is basically a subtlety tweaked version of the previous one.
Technology should be used to solve real problems, not for its own sake.
As the old saying goes, ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’
Want to learn more about innovation? if yes then good news, we made a short course on innovation with someone who has designed computers for IBM, shoes for Nike, and even a loo brush for SC Johnson. The class is called Disruptive Innovation.