Innovation Lessons from The Artist

by Paul Sloane

Innovation lessons from the artistHave you seen The Artist?  The film recently won the best film award at the Oscars.  It is a charming tale about the transition from silent movies to talkies.  It is remarkable for a number of reasons – not least because it is a silent movie in black and white with unknowns as stars.

It seems to me that we can learn some innovation lessons from this film and its appeal to audiences.

First, the story relates how success is transitory and those who cling to what worked before are rendered obsolete when the market moves onto to new products, services, methods or technologies.  If your success is based on what happened in the past rather than what clients will demand in the future then you are at risk of the same fate as the stars of the silent movies who could not adapt to talkies.

Innovation lessons from the artist

Second, the film deliberately discards current fashion and heads in a completely new direction.  Many modern films rely on big stars, fast action, computer graphics or 3D.  The Artist has none of these.  It tells a simple but powerful story about human emotions and it does it without spoken dialogue or even colour.   It purposefully avoids current paradigms in order to make itself unusual and distinctive.

If your competitors are adding new features and technologies then perhaps you should innovate by moving in the opposite direction by making your product or service simpler and easier.  Can you appeal to basic human emotions in a more direct way?  Can you plunder the past to find something which is different and distinctive in the present?

Please see the movie and then ask yourself how you can apply its lessons to your business.

imagecredit:newsok & moviefone

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Paul SloanePaul Sloane writes, speaks and leads workshops on creativity, innovation and leadership. He is the author of The Innovative Leader and editor of A Guide to Open Innovation and Crowdsourcing, both published by Kogan-Page.

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  1. Great post Paul. We were discussing some of these points re innovation in the second half of the interview with Richard Strange, The Godfather of Punk, coming up this weekend at Innovation Excellence.

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