Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Know your audience

Anton Dvorak was acclaimed during his lifetime as a great and popular composer. This success was in no small part due his preparation and approach to composing: he would identify the music his audiences liked, explore the traditional music of the towns and regions where his music was to be performed, and ensure he weaved his insights into his compositions.
Being aware of the context within which ideas and inventions will be introduced increases their chances of success.  

A good example of an invention that did not take account of context was the Sinclair C5, a very small single-seat electric car that positioned the driver low down towards the road surface and provided no protection from the often inclement British weather. Unsurprisingly, the C5 failed to catch on; it was an uncomfortable (and sometimes very damp) way to travel and, most importantly, lorries drivers had trouble seeing it because it was small and low to the ground.
An example of an invention that did take account of context was the clockwork radio. This was created with the needs of isolated African communities in mind. These communities had very little or no access to affordable electricity. As a consequence, it was very difficult for these communities to keep abreast of their regions' and countries' news and current affairs. Most importantly, they often did not receive information that was vital to their survival. Within this context, a radio that used an alternative and easily maintained power source was likely to become very popular and successful.

When identifying new and innovative solutions to problems, put significant effort into researching the context within which they will be implemented. This will increase the likelihood of your ideas becoming valuable additions to people’s lives (rather than irrelevant eccentricities relegated to obscure footnotes within the annals of failed solutions).

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