Innovations need not be so New

The launch of the Apple iPad this week reminds me that successful Innovations need not be so new after all.

Here’s a look at  a few product launches where the first iteration of the product did not take the market by storm and then a few years or even decades later the 2.0 of the innovation took off. 


The most famous perhaps being the Apple ipod, Apple were certainly not the inventors of the hard disk music player. The first portable MP3 player was the MPMan by SaeHan/Eiger Labs, released in March of 1998. It  featured 32MB of flash memory and held around 8 tracks (less than an average Album!). Source: (


Also in 1998, the first hard-drive-based MP3 player was developed–the Hango/Remote Solutions Personal Jukebox PJB-100 with 6GB of memory. The guys that invented the Hango were eventually bought by Compaq (who were bought by HP). Then in 2001 the first Apple ipod came to market, and ipod-domination has ruled ever since.

The logic behind car sharing schemes makes complete sense. Why own a vehicle outright with all the expenses and hassles of ownership. Car sharing schemes have sprung up in cities all around the world, but have never quite gathered the level of interest and momentum that new comer ZIPCAR is generating.

While other car share schemes were very practical and grounded in common sense and good value, ZIPCAR has taken things a giant step further. Their cars are no ordinary cars they are electric and so are very cheap to run. They also have done something no other car share schemes have done, they have built a brand and so rather than being the poor man’s solution to private transportation they are the cool- citizen’s solution.

In fact ZIPCAR are not even the first to try car share with energy efficient vehicles, as part of a global initiative Honda launched a car share operation in Singapore in 2008, called KAHSHARE (named after the distributor KAHMOTORS). And for a city with limits on car ownership its surprising that KAHSHARE does not have a greater profile. The service is not advertised, does not have a logo and certainly is not widely known in Singapore. For sure if it was called ZIPCAR it would be more viable.


The first folding bikes were invented in the late 1800’s and were mostly designed for infantry troops. Civilian interest in folding bikes was re-kindled by Moulton’s who introduced a bike in 1962 with small wheels (pic courtesy of The folding Cyclist). This designed inspired a flurry of folding bike designs in the 1970’s.
Today brands such as Dahon are perceived as innovators of the category, with very stylish models for the urban commuter, hoever brands such as Montague are often credited with inventing the modern day folding bike as their heritage is in military folding bikes, the birth place of folding bikes.
Montague’s position is that folding bikes should not be a compromise for the cycling enthusiast. When you look at their bikes you think you are looking at a regular city or mountain bike. Montague have since teamed up with ZIPCAR to promote a LOW-CAR DIET. People who sign up with ZIPCAR stand a chance to win a folding bike from Montague.
 I am sure there are hundreds of other examples where the 2.0 made it when the 1.0 did’nt.