Technological innovation — defined here as a new phenomena, packaged in a new frame for the market — is subject to friction. Existing market patterns, users’ habits or false iteration work against the goals and development of an innovation.
Without new energy offsetting the friction, it would come to a stop. Things like founders’ care, costumers’ mind–share or finance are needed to move an innovation along before it can pass a tipping point, when gravity will take over.
However cheaper computation and the richness of the start up eco–system is exponentially reducing this friction. Costs are dramatically lower, barriers for entry are drastically non–present, and the money is there to be raised.
In a way, we moved from street to ice hockey. Technologies — being pucks in this metaphor — are gliding with very little friction. Increasing in ability, traction and value.
In that game of ‘innovation hockey’, icing is allowed, and even encouraged.
Oddly, in this game the rink has more than one puck. There is a plethora of competitors, who too are taking advantage of the lack of friction.
The hockey rink is saturated, littered with pucks, to an extent that they’re bouncing against each other and causing an artificial slow–down.
With overly populated rinks, by too many pucks, unable to take advantage of lowering market friction I argue that the solution is one level of abstraction away.
It involves a system design, in finding, designing or building a new system, a system of multiple rinks.
New shapes, new set ups, with levels — slides and trampolines, time-wrap hole, and teleporting. The magic sauce is in the mixing of schemes, techniques and wiring of rinks.
A single rink will always be saturated — before it will be automated.
Moving from products to systems is the first step to make use of the opportunities of advanced technologies, more educated users and an increasingly complex world.