Listen to part of a discussion in a business management class.
Professor: Last week we were talking about innovation in business.
Remember the graph I showed you?
Student: The curve that looked sort of like the letter S?
Professor: Right. Cathy. Let's take another look.
Do you recall? Cathy.
How this S-curve represents the life cycle of innovation?
Student: Sure. Starting on the left, the new innovation, let's say it's a new product.
Almost nobody's heard of it or at least nobody takes it seriously.
Then its popularity increases, uh, slowly at first till sales really start accelerating quickly.
There where the line goes up steeply in the middle as more and more get excited about the product and they go out and buy it.
But eventually, moving over to the right side there, interest begins to fade and the growth and sales levels off.
Professor: At which point the market has matured for that product.
We can still sell it and even marginally improve it, but it's not new anymore.
It no longer offers exciting growth opportunities.
So a business leader might face a choice: either stick with this old, safe, proven idea or move on to the next big idea, a fresh innovation.
But innovations are risky.
They may succeed or they may not.
OK. A case study.
George. I have heard your Thursday night program on the campus radio station.
You like Jazz, right?
Student: Huh? ! Uh... yeah... sure! But... what? !
Professor: OK. Stay with me here.
On your program last week, I heard an old Miles Davis album.
Tell us about that.
Student: Uh... Miles Davis. Trumpet.
I played a CD of a Jazz classic he recorded in the 1950s called Kind of Blue.
我播了一张爵士乐唱片，是他在20世纪50年代录的，叫《Kind of Blue》。
It's my all-time favorite Jazz recording.
Professor: Mine too.
Would you call that recording innovative for its time?
Student: Absolutely! Nothing at all like what he had recorded up till then.
I mean, before that Miles Davis played things so complex that... well... nobody could touch him.
But this was something totally new.
Suddenly his playing sounded so amazingly simple.
Professor: And how did people react to this new sound of Miles Davis?
Student: Well... some were disappointed, even angry that he'd abandon his old style.
But soon most of his fans came around and this new style appealed to a whole new group of jazz listeners.
Professor: I guess so. Kind of Blue became the most commercially successful album in the history of jazz!
教授：我想也是。《Kind of Blue》变成了爵士乐史上最成功的专辑（从商业角度来说）。
So is there a lesson here anyone?
Think of that S-curve I showed you.