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The Vikings, innovation and editorial coverage

Editorial | March 1, 2018 | By:

Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life believing it is stupid.

~Albert Einstein

Okay… I guess I have to report that The Curse of the Vikings is still intact (see February editorial). We upset New Orleans well enough that wary Minnesotans started to prance and gesture just a bit, but Philadelphia did for us decidedly, and then took out New England as well, if a bit less decidedly. Jimmy Fallon probably summed it up best in his post-Super Bowl monologue, when he pointed out that the audience was “10 percent Eagles fans, 10 percent Patriots fans, and 80 percent angry Vikings fans.”

I think the cold weather came as a sort of meteorological revenge for most of us, watching those blue-tinted out-of-towners on the evening news from our unspectacular but comfortable living rooms. And if some of us didn’t head downtown for any of the festivities, it wasn’t due to the cold, but to those $50+ parking fees. We just don’t do that. We liked that zip line across the Mississippi, though. Might make that permanent.

I also didn’t see any fans showing up at the stadium dressed as birds and dashing themselves against the walls, so the Audubon Society didn’t get any free publicity either. So that does it for the Super Bowl. Until the next time.

Now, on to the good stuff …

If you skip this editorial and rush to the rest of the issue, you’ll notice a theme running through many of the articles—not football, but innovation. In addition to David Murray’s comments below, “The road warriors”  talks about how it’s not so much changes in trucks that are altering tarps and truck covers—it’s changes in truckers. “The inside story” talks about the importance of finding and presenting what’s new in entertainment—and how fabric’s flexibility makes it a natural option.

And in IFAI market research director Jeff Rasmussen’s annual State of the Industry article, he  talks about what’s critical in the industry: “Innovation exists in every phase of any business—technologies, markets served, products, processes and services created and delivered to increasingly demanding customers.”

In his book “The Innovator’s Dilemma,” Clayton Christensen made what is now the classic distinction between two different types of innovations: what he called “disruptive technologies” versus “sustaining technologies,” developments that help organizations make marginal improvements but don’t really inspire basic change. I think industry opinions have shifted, however, toward that “review and correct” philosophy as a big driver of success and progress: small changes are cumulative, in my view, not just absorbed back into the organizational mass; continual examination and improvement are structural changes, not just minor fixes.

Most of the content of the Review is dedicated to this proposition. Let me know what we should be covering in the magazine as we develop next year’s editorial calendar… and we can all happily forget Super Bowl LII.

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