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The Importance of Early Innovation

Alex Christie

10 March 2010

Sony vs AppleApple vs Sony

Last week, the Wall Street Journal ran a piece on Sony’s upcoming products which are posed to challenge Apple’s beloved iPhone and the “revolutionary” iPad.  The article explained that while Sony had a rocky past and mixed success with both its cell phone and gaming divisions, its newest portable devices are meant to offer solid competition to Apple’s iTunes-powered gadgets. Though it will be interesting to learn about what Sony comes up with, it’s likely the technology will be playing catch-up with Apple’s offerings. Why? Because the Cupertino giant has early innovation advantage on its side.

While some will argue that Apple’s gizmos are simply superior, I think the company’s strength comes from its ability to revolutionise a product. For example, Apple has transformed the smartphone from a complicated device into a tool that’s fun and easy to use. It’s trying to do the same with tablet computing, providing an engaging and simple option with the iPad. Being the first company to properly market the concept guarantees that competitors’ alternatives will appear to be copying Apple.

Lessons Learnt

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It’s clearly becoming more and more important for companies to be the first to innovate. This concept isn’t justapplicable on a product development level- in fact, it’s quite relevant in most business areas. Innovation can be the key to opening the doors to success. Unfortunately, many companies aren’t willing to take risks and explore the unknown, particularly when a mistake could cause a serious impact on profits. Luckily, there’s an opportunity for businesses to experiment with innovation in a minimal risk environment: social media.

Businesses have been slowly embracing Twitter as their main venture into the world of social media. Statistics show that Twitter has become the most popular and most utilised venue for companies, so having an account is no longer something new. Now, it’s important to have an innovative approach to Twitter and to develop a strategy which differentiates from the competition.

Twitter is a versatile platform which can be used to creatively interact with both current and potential customers. As added bonus, it’s relatively new and has yet to be fully explored. Some companies have already found fresh and interesting Twitter approaches. Best Buy heavily advertises its twelpforce customer service Twitter account. Dell has earned millions by running special promotions for its Twitter followers.  Part of what allowed these companies to succeed was the fact that they were among the first to try their respective strategies. Fortunately, there are still many ignored opportunities for businesses on Twitter. In order to profit from social media, it’s important to bring something new to the table early on.

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