The 7 Deadly Sins of Innovation – By Mat Shore Insight and Value Proposition Expert

My fifth sin of innovation is the insistence of manufacturers and innovators to over-engineer solutions in order to make themselves seem clever. In reality it has the opposite effect of making them seem unapproachable, out of touch and irrelevant.

Sin number 5: Over-complicating stuff

We need to remind ourselves frequently that the technology in our products is the enabler to the benefit, not the benefit in itself.

It doesn’t matter how complicated the science is, if the customer doesn’t understand it, or worse still if it becomes an obstacle to the customer achieving their desired outcome.

The Air Umbrella anyone?

When I wrote a dissection of the Air Umbrella in a Linked In article last year over 10,000 people read my view on why this would be a disaster due to being over-complicated and irrelevant.

You can read my rather scathing appraisal of its merits here.

And I was proved right it would appear… Check out the tale of misery and lost investment funds on Kickstarter for a sobering lesson in bad ideas being blindly pursued despite all the warning signs.

Is a solution any less valuable because it doesn’t use a complicated technology or method?

Take a look at this S-Oil campaign from South Korea, is this solution any less valuable because it doesn’t use complicated technology in order to achieve the benefit?

I challenge you not to go ‘Ooohhh! That’s clever!’ when watching this video.

So did over-complicating stuff and being perceived as ‘High-Tec’ help Air Umbrella succeed?


Did solving a real need using whatever solution was appropriate make S-Oil look less clever?

Of course not!

Discerning customers evaluate solutions based on how likely they are to be effective and whether the appropriate technology has been applied in a clever way to a achieve a meaningful benefit.

I love technology myself, but have the natural human instinct of looking at a Value Proposition and not focusing on ‘How does it do that?’ but ‘Why does it do that?’. Don’t You?

Mat Shore is a professional innovations speaker and founder of Outside In, a consulting and training company specialising in creating competitive insights and value propositions. You can buy his book ‘The Seven Deadly Sins of Innovation’ now at Buy Mats 7 Sins Book