The coach driver’s syndrome
Lainox is studying the role of technological innovation in the kitchen by listening to a wide variety of opinions. One of the opinions that had the greatest impact on us, and which we feel reflects us as a company is shown below...
In my job as a consultant all over the world and from working with both equipment users and producers, the question about what type of approach a manufacturer should take towards innovation often comes up.
In my many years of experience, I have asked this type of question to companies dozens of times and they all answered in the same way, apart from a select few: “We focus on the requirements of the users of our equipment and we ask them what they need, and on the basis of their requests, we develop new products”.
My immediate reaction is always the same: “Can this really be called innovation?”
Let’s take a look at the innovation of cars. If we had asked a coach driver how to improve his working life in his time, he would have concentrated on what he was familiar with: a more comfortable carriage, better shock absorption, softer reins, etc.
It is unlikely that he would have thought of anything that differed from what he already knew. Unfortunately, this so-called “coach driver’s syndrome” can be found in most companies in our sector.
What I have been trying to get the companies I work with to understand for the last few years is, that if they truly want to be innovative in the world of food service equipment, they cannot simply stop and listen to what the “coach drivers” tell them they want. They must force themselves to imagine what does not yet exist, while obviously focusing on the requirements of those who actually work in kitchens. To do this, they need to have a strong relationship with people who work in kitchens, foster an in-depth technical knowledge in their R&D department, and above all, possess a visionary and pioneering spirit. Only in this way can something be created that truly makes a difference.