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OLPC and the "Innovator's Opportunity" 64

viralMeme sends in a piece from OLPC News featuring a video interview with Pixel Qi's Mary Lou Jepson. The interview goes over some of the improvements in the company's extremely power-efficient screen technology that will show up in the next generations of the OLPC. The article links a video side-by-side comparison among Pixel Qi, Kindle, and Toshiba R600 displays in sunlight and in shade; Pixel Qi is arguably more readable than Kindle, and in full color. Jepson refers to Clayton Christenson's 1997 classic The Innovator's Dilemma, explaining a seeming paradox in high-tech: why companies that listen to their customers aren't the ones that innovate. According to the article it's mainly because "the next big market isn't with your current customers. It's with a vastly larger group of would-be users who couldn't afford your previous products, or couldn't carry around the huge devices of previous generations." Jepson says, "The cool thing about the Pixel Qi technology is, you know, poor kids in Africa got it first... It's the classic Innovator's Dilemma."
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OLPC and the "Innovator's Opportunity"

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 03, 2009 @05:04PM (#29630123)
    anymore? In the classic Innovator's Opportunity, netbooks have pretty much rendered this thing completely useless. They do pretty much the same thing(are actually better in some areas), for about the same price, sans all the smugness.
  • by mellon ( 7048 ) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @05:20PM (#29630261) Homepage

    One of these screens with a low-power ARM CPU motherboard would be a really sweet geek laptop. It seems like that could hit a price that would be attractive to a lot of people while performing well enough to actually be useful. But all we're hearing from Pixel Qi at the moment is silence, and I'm betting the first laptop to come with this screen, if one ever does, will have an Atom CPU and run Windows. I wonder if Pixel Qi would be willing to sell these in hobbyist quantities... :'}

  • Re:Not a paradox (Score:5, Interesting)

    by im_thatoneguy ( 819432 ) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @05:58PM (#29630559)

    Yeah I disagree with the article's assertion you shouldn't listen to your customers. You should listen to your customers, but do so understanding most requests aren't for what they're asking for, it's for a more fundamental desire. And it's up to the innovator to determine what that is.

    "I want a faster horse." "So you want to be able to travel further faster?" "Yes." "Ok how about a cart that travels as fast as a horse and go several hundred miles without stopping to rest, would that satisfy your desires?"

    "I want a brighter backlight."
    "Why do you think you need a brighter backlight?"
    "Because I can't see the screen in direct sun."
    "Ok would a screen which reflects light and is readable in all lighting conditions satisfy that need?"

    It's always helpful to deconstruct your customer's or client's feedback into outcomes or objectives instead of technical specifications. And if they ask for something specific it's usually a good idea to define whether they really want that in specific thing or there is some specific attribute of that thing that think is unique to it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 03, 2009 @06:09PM (#29630637)

    In order to get adoption of Win7 they're including an "XP Mode". Sometimes your existing customers don't want innovation because what you made before is "good enough".

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 03, 2009 @07:16PM (#29631103)

    I'm not interested in your philosophy. When can I buy your product without jumping through OLPC's hoops?

  • by ThreeGigs ( 239452 ) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @10:52PM (#29632177)

    To hell with netbooks.
    The real market for this will be automobile dashboards.

Kill Ugly Processor Architectures - Karl Lehenbauer