The wooden horse of Innovation

A mechanical toy in which the horse collapses when the lever below is pressed, and the horse bounces back when the lever is released.

Gold consumption rate of China they say is around 700 metric tonnes compared to India’s 993 metric tonnes. China is poised to overtake India in gold consumption in 2012. It’s right now at the no. 2 position.

Are we really buying less gold? I guess so. For many years we prided ourselves as the largest consumers of the yellow metal. Enter year 2000. IT brings a revolution in our world. Do women pride themselves with a yellow shining necklace around their neck? Yawn! Do men really think they can woe a woman with gold? Double yawn!! 2010: Twitter. Facebook. I pod. I pad. I phone. Even the Mac is now the digital book and not the burger! Need I say more…..? the world just changed while you were asleep, Mr Jeweller!

Are we equipped for the next phase?

Let me tell you the story of a craftsman in a province in Punjab. For many years he had made a decent living making wooden toys. His expertise was making this wooden horse which collapsed when you pressed the lever. A fun toy for kids. Probably some input he received as a new design and that sustained him well for years. He had a  1500 sq ft workshop with enough lathe machines to craft each unit of the leg. He variated. Did better legs. Changed the colours. Then one day the orders dried up. He didn’t know why. And there was no body to tell him why as well. But that just it. There were no takers for the toy. Kids were a different breed now. A simple mechanical toy would not excite them as much as a video game. As for him, his machines lay rusted.

Where did he loose out?

On innovation.

He took for granted that a certain style will continue being popular because of its past history. But what he did not foresee was the changing trends that could affect his product, business and livelihood. He failed to innovate.

What is innovation?

Well, that’s another story for next time!


( This is a true story. He gifted the toy to my daughter few years back. She took it reluctantly in politeness, but has never played with it.)