What came first? The fried egg or the fried chicken?
So we’ll start with a new twist on one of the oldest questions and end up focussing how innovation can make businesses profitable. If that seems like a bit of stretch then please read one and by the sheer power of connective thinking we’ll fry that chicken!
Even if you’re a little tired of the Bake Off saga and endless formulaic TV chef shows you cannot get away from the fact that the ability to cook food was one of the the most important evolutionary steps in the history of man. Basically cooking the meat meant that we could eat more, get more protein into our systems, grow our brains and become the dominant species. And now here we are with our super sized brains still wrestling with simple questions about fried egg or the fried chicken – maybe we’ll figure it out one day!
So back to the cooking bit. It was the control of fire that let us cook and it’s interesting to contemplate which came first; fire or the control of fire. But that’s easy right? Fire was all over the place in volcanoes and lightning strikes before man even showed up so it must have been the control that came second. Fire was the solution to our evolutionary progress but the problem was getting it going again if the wind blew it out. In this case the cooking solution was around before the problem.
To make money in business you have to make people’s lives better by solving a problem for them. Ideas are ten a penny but the crucial part is to make sure that they are actually a solution to a problem that a customer will give you money for. That is what commercial innovation is all about! All too often businesses fall in love with a neat idea and fail to expose it to the harsh commercial light for fear that the idea turns out to be a dud. So good practice is to stop talking about ideas and start talking about customer problems. Once you’ve got a handle on the customers’ top ten problems that’s the time to start the creative process.
And as for the chicken well that was first domesticated in southern China about 8000 years ago by which time we’d sorted out how to make fire work for us. My hunch is that they fried chicken before they fried egg because food was short and there was more food value in a chicken than in an egg.
Next week’s topic will be about whether there is any such thing as a new idea so please tune in then.