Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Another air travel user innovation

I was in an airport this afternoon with a dead battery on my laptop. Hunting around for a plug, I finally found one. Sheesh I thought. It's so hard to find a plug in an airport these days. And then it didn't even have a place for me to sit down! I either had to sit on the floor or drag a row of chairs over to the plug. So I sit down, plug in, and begin to work. A few minutes later this guy--who looked like a much more seasoned traveler than I--rushed over, busted out an EXTENSION CORD, and proceeded to plug it into the wall, unwind to a length that allowed him to sit down comfortably (okay relatively speaking) at a bench, and work. I then overheard him talking on the phone to someone about how he had just been in 3 airports that day or something. It just goes to show that the most advanced users will find anything at their disposal to innovate.

So here's a business idea: set up kiosks selling overpriced extension cords in airports, only don't call them extension cords, call them airport life savers.

I'm reminded of user innovation yet again as I travel to Boston to present to the MIT Sloan School of Management where Professor Eric von Hippel et al. are conducting an executive education conference on innovation. MIT Sloan hosts a number of very high-quality executive education courses that I highly recommend. They select the best professors to spend an intense 2-5 days with managers, directors, VPs and more learning the latest and greatest in management science.

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