Home > From the tavern: Innovation stories and opinions > The innovation gardener stands the test of time

The innovation gardener stands the test of time

McKinsey Quarterly publishes an interview of Alberto Alessi, CEO of a leading Italian design firm specialised in kitchen ustensil, that has been on the innovation front for decades.

Two of Alessi’s answers struck a cord:

1. In response to a question about the downturn Alessi says: “It does not change anything for myself, personally. My future is to continue to be a gardener. A gardener has to properly prepare the ground, then plant the seeds, then wait. Then, as the flower appears, a gardener has to take care of it...” I could not have wished for a better illustration by a CEO that you do not grow a plant by pulling on it.

2. Asked what the average shelf life of their products is, Alessi replies: “Very long. In metal, 30 to 50 years; in plastic, we have only 20 years of experience, but we have 20-year-old plastic products that are still well alive. Sometimes we are trendy. But the life of the object often continues for a long time after it’s made.” Such an amazing longevity reveals something quite profound, yet, in hindsight, simple: that innovation is not about novelty for the sake of it. It is about observing people, addressing an unmet need or, as Alessi puts it in an other part of the interview, touching “a customer’s dream“.

And there are dreams indeed that people dream all their lives, generation after generation. Even in a fast-pace world some innovations can stand the test of time.

You can read Alberto Alessi’s interview at McKinsey Quarterly.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: