Is the Post-a-Phone an Innovation?

I came across an article on Engadget about a phone that is so flat you could mail it. Sure it is only a concept at present, but with my direct marketing hat on I thought at first that it seemed like a cool idea. I started to imagine it as a fun way to announce new support hours or some other scenario where you are reaching out to people, encouraging them to call you. In such a scenario, this phone could create a high impact piece. So to me the phone seemed maybe not innovative, but definitely fun.

Then I started to think about it as a product, and I started thinking, what problem is this really solving? Suddenly, it started to seem like a solution in search of a problem. I started to read through the comments on the article, and I landed on a comment that brought to light that many (if not most) households now rely on cordless phones which are rendered useless in a power outage. Suddenly I saw this solution without a problem in a new light – as a low cost, small, and lightweight addition to a household emergency kit that could replace a dead cordless phone in an emergency.

In that light, is this an innovative product or just a silly invention? What do you think?
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Braden Kelley

Braden Kelley is a Design Thinking, Innovation and Transformation Consultant, a popular innovation speaker and workshop leader, and helps companies use Human-Centered Change™ to beat the 70% change failure rate. He is the author of Charting Change from Palgrave Macmillan and Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire from John Wiley & Sons. Braden has been advising companies since 1996, while living and working in England, Germany, and the United States. Braden earned his MBA from top-rated London Business School. Follow him on Twitter and Linkedin.

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