Yesterday, I read this quotation on another advertising blog:
"The reality is that digital simply moves too fast to expect everyone to have the expertise brands demand. It is hard to imagine, but the next 10 years will dwarf the innovation we’ve seen from the last. In this evolving world of real-time marketing, platforms, newsrooms, apps, social, invention and whatever happened today — you need digital leaders who can help brands and agencies stay ahead of the pace and places digital is pushing."
What struck me about it is our industry's head-long, almost blind embrace, of innovation for the sake of innovation.
I do understand the fast-pace of digital change. I even understand that the next ten years may dwarf the innovation we've seen from the last.
What I question is how much of this innovation is lasting?
How much of this innovation is meaningful?
How much of this innovation will have an impact on how we communicate, how we influence consumer behavior, how we help the clients we work for?
For whatever reason, this all calls to mind the old joke.
It wasn't the Neanderthal who invented the wheel who was the genius. It was the one who put four wheels together who made a difference.
In other words, innovation is masturbation without consumer application.
Frankly, I see innovations heralded as the new new thing about once every three months. No one gets called on the carpet (as if agencies were still carpeted) when these innovations go as flat as a month-old soda. All the oceans of people who spent their days and nights chasing Facebook "likes" weren't fired when the industry realized from a marketing POV those likes were virtually useless. The same can be said for Second Life, Google Plus, and any variety of ephemeral TV-killers.
Innovation is fine, and is to be pursued and lauded.
But only if it is purposeful.
Only if it builds, constructs, influences, works.
Otherwise it is like a shiny new toy from China.
Fun for about three days until it breaks.