Mike Vance is, in my opinion, one of the greatest business speakers in the last 100 years. His work on developing creativity is cornerstone. He introduced the three methods to create something. Those were:
- Invention Invention (i.e. the light bulb)
- Invention Extension (i.e. the flashlight)
- Invention Devention (see below)
An old Nike T-shirt had a saying plastered across the front that read, “The older I get the better I was!” That is me. Believe it or not, there was a time when I was the captain of the swim team -many, many, many pounds ago with the svelt torso to match. “So what,” you say?
For decades the thinking was that to swim faster you wanted to make the swimsuit smaller and lighter. Hence the jokes of the Speedo clad swimmer being almost naked. Just how small can those suits get.
So how do you de-vent the Speedo?
You actually make the suit bigger, a lot bigger. Enter the Speedo LZR body suit at $550 a piece. These suits made a major splash at the last Oympics and since then are becoming a must for competitive swimming.
Speedo made the outside of the suit more “slippery” in the water than human skin, they also create a total body “girdle” effect by redistributing body mass around so that body fat, which is more buoyant than muscle, makes the human form sit higher in the water. I knew there was a reason I am carrying all this “buoyancy” around (big grin). In fact in these suits, having a little extra body fat is a good thing.
Results? Since it’s debut last year there have been 82 world records set versus 15 in the past seven years. Swimmers are worried that they might NOT have access to one of these suits and so the budget of the respective swim team is now a consideration. These pricey little items have a shelf life of about 12 swims before they fall apart, or about $45 a race. Can you say razor blade cartridges as a powerful sales and marketing tool?
The current economy has people getting creative to make ends meet. The question to ask yourself, “what can I do, pro-actively, to ‘de-vent’ my product and services?” Well might you ask yourself:
- How can I make my product bigger?
- How can I make my product smaller?
- How can I eliminate my goods and services and morph the business to give the customer what they want (that which they pay me for) without the current inventory and services?
If you don’t think like this, don’t worry, your competition is doing it for you.
And like Michael Phelps, they are doing it fast.