Learning from Old Technology

burrs-old technologyWhat can small business owners learn from old technology and its innovators? We will investigate Velcro and Q-Tips.

The idea for Velcro originated with Georges de Mestral. In 1941, he wondered if burrs that clung to him and his dog could have a useful purpose. Eight years later, that thought was developed into Velcro, a combination of the words “velvet” and “crochet”.

Upon observing his wife putting wads of cotton on toothpicks in 1923, Leo Gerstenzang conceived the concept of a ready to use cotton swab. Initially called Baby Gays, in 1926 they were branded Q-Tips. The “Q” stands for Quality and “Tips” describes the cotton swabs at the end of the stick.

What can the small business owner learn from these old technologies that are still in use today?

First, these innovators took the time to observe, think and innovate. Second, even after the initial concept came to mind, they were persistent in their development efforts, spending time testing and calculating. Their concept to market time was more than just a few days.

These stories are from well-known products that had a huge impact to the world. However, even small changes and innovations within niche markets requires the innovators to take time to observe, think, conceptualize, communicate, design, calculate and test.

We live in a world of instant service and gratification. With today’s technology, innovation processes can be faster, but innovation still takes time and effort. The rewards for the effort could be gratifying.

Contact us today for help in innovating your business, product and services.