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 Director of Innovation and Human-Centered Problem-Solving at Oracle, a popular innovation speaker and workshop leader, helps companies build innovation cultures and infrastructures, and plan organizational changes that are more human and less overwhelming. 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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