SNEWS Reader Poll: Readers sound off on state of product innovation

Our recent Reader Poll question asked about people’s perceptions on the state of product innovation in both the outdoor and fitness industries. The responses we received were revealing, somewhat disturbing and, in a small way, confirmation that innovation, at least in terms of perception, needs...

An Oct. 25 article in the Wall Street Journal, by Elliot Turner, “Is Innovation Thriving or Dying?” addressed the recent statement by President Obama asserting that over the past “decade…that can do spirit (that leads to innovation) had been lost.”

In that WSJ article, the author said, “(The) mere presence of innovative companies and an increase in patent applications does not go far enough in assessing the state of innovation… Innovation is about more than just making ‘new’ things, it’s about making things that improve the quality of life for the masses.”

We know from interviews SNEWS® has conducted with company executives over the past few years, especially around trade show time, that driving and achieving product innovation advances remains a high priority in the outdoor and fitness industries. Many executives have told us that companies require strong innovation for growth, and companies that do not grow will die.

But we’ve also heard that as a result of the consolidation and cutbacks during the recession, there is a widespread belief that, increasingly, outdoor and fitness industry companies no longer have the necessary leadership, systems or tools to successfully and consistently innovate. So, more often than not, companies have to be satisfied with simply turning out a new product…innovative or not.

During the month of October, we ran a Reader Poll question asking about people’s perceptions on the state of product innovation in both the outdoor and fitness industries. The responses we received were revealing, somewhat disturbing and, in a small way, confirmation that innovation, at least in terms of perception, needs a serious jolt in the arm.

Following the results of this survey, we’d be interested in more insight from our readers. Use the SNEWS Chat function to add your observations about the state of innovation. Is it really “ho hum,” as so many have asserted? Or is the real innovation going on in the outdoor and fitness industries now less obvious, but no less important?

--Michael Hodgson



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