Does too much choice stop experimentation and preserve the status quo ?

This question posed itself after an experience in a restaurant in Hong Kong. I love experimenting with food, trying what is local, always was keen to try something new. Expectantly I opened the menu and was immediately overwhelmed. What choices and options! I just could not make up my mind and, after having spent a long time considering this and that, found myself choosing something I knew. Ooops.


That got me thinking… about other situations where there is just so much choice, for example, replacing my phone or computer. I sincerely dislike the prospects of having to investigate a replacement! What should I look out for and why? Which feature should I favour over another? Might there not be something even more exciting around the corner that I should wait for? So I postpone the decision for as long as possible (generally until my computer becomes a severe obstacle to me doing my work…).

Yet we innovate, and innovate, and innovate, to create more choice, to provide more options. In my view this, more often than not, leads to confusion instead of delight! Hang on, is not ‘delighting the customer‘ the key strap-line to much of the innovation activity going on? Ooops


To me a company that got it right for a long time was Appel. I believe that much of their success was due to the simple range of products (that of course were also stylish and beautiful as well as infinitely more user friendly than much of the competition). You read right though, I used the past tense… Just looking at what has happened over the past year or so makes me doubt whether this is still true: we have iPhone 4, 4S, 5, 5S, 5C, different colours (despite the fact that it is just so easy to customise the iPhone with shells, coves, whatnot). I am afraid, I think they have lost it (too).


I know I know, innovation is the topic of my choice, and my passion - AND I am increasingly aware of the dark side that there is to innovation: too much of it, with too little consideration, just because it is possible…


We innovate to create change - and by innovating too much we might just achieve the opposite! I believe that in today’s complex, fast changing and uncertain world a little simplicity goes a long way.


Or is it just me ? !


PS When googling for a nice picture to go with this blog I came across the chart below - so it’s not only me


I found this on google images but could not open the referenced website: http://www.noahrickun.com


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