As usual with me many of my thoughts center around business and thus move towards those that do woodworking as a business.
It struck me today after hearing the CEO of Sony on the news making the comment that Sony needs to rapidly secure a place in the mobile phone market, just how the whole idea of innovation has become a part of the new business landscape.
In Sonys case they have been struggling in each of their divisions for years now. They reached a point at one time and then seem to rest on their laurels the result being that others have been allowed to enter their market place and capture their former customers with either newer or better products.
I dont know about you but there was a time with me that Sony was my go to brand. When i heard the news (which is not news in reality its more of a admission and strategic observation that the Ceo of Sony has made public) i paused a few minutes to think of how other brands with better products and pricing have invaded my space and nudged Sony out. This did not happen overnight, its happened gradually as my needs and technology has changed and i have been back into the market to purchase a new device.
Where i used to have a Sony Camera, Sony Handycam, Sony Tv etc I now find i have LG, Motorola, Cannon, Hp, and even no name brands.
So whats the point i am making and how does this relate to woodworking businesses.
Well i often think when you examine the demographic of the woodworking shops you mostly find men and men that somewhat are caught up in the traditional designs and looks of what has been in woodworking. Few woodworkers will say something bad about a fine walnut finish or the design of something from the past reproduced today. This is all good and well when we building something for a hobby and are caught up in the nostalgia of 18th century woodworking and challenging ourselves to reproduce pieces of the past etc.
But if we expect an ever changing market place to support our business we need to recognize just as the big boys do that the market place is changing. There is room for innovation in Woodworking designs today which allow consumers to embrace the natural beauty of wood and wood made products in their tech lives.
Simple example is the big move to standing while at work, giving rise to an opportunity to change what the traditional desk needs to be. The old TV tray stand for dinners around the TV, the TV/entertainment center changing to accommodate flat panel tvs in way more innovative manners than just a chest to stand on.
Then there is the choice of wood and wood color finish that one needs to keep a keen eye open to as fashions and trends change.
So if you operate a woodworking shop of any kind, pause for a moment and consider just how wrapped up you might be in producing products that dont necessarily meet the needs of this changing environment and how this just might be affecting the flow of business or your image to the marketplace. Whats happened to Sony can happen to any business and its tougher to play catch up after the event than it is to be constantly innovating. Innovation need not only mean looking at more productive ways to produce something. Embracing use of tools like Google Sketchup allows a myriad of possibilities when it comes to satisfying customers desires without even touching wood.