Most inventors fail to steer clear of the pitfall of making the same difference as other innovations. They fail to take stock of what else is being done, changed and refined. They assume their idea is so new and clever it has no rivals. They may even be afraid to study the market and assess their competition due to the negative impact on their own outlook and mood. This anti-pattern is comprised of over-optimism at all cost with a perilous lack of humility and realism.
Whenever we want to make a difference, it's not enough to simply be different. There's the question of:
- making a big enough difference to get noticed and to stand out from the crowd
- making a useful difference that will get valued and talked about by lots of varied users
- making an accessible difference that others can take advantage of without overcoming huge obstacles
- making an immediate difference that does not require lots of patience and trust to experience a payoff quickly
- making a long term difference that rewards deeper commitments and investments for buying into the difference
- making a range of differences to satisfy a variety of situations, expectations or limitations
- making predictable differences so the invention seems trustworthy, reliable and consistent to users
These seven criteria for making a difference can be satisfied many different ways which avoid the pitfall of making the same difference. The combinations of these attributes can create a significant difference that could be called a "game changer", "revolutionary breakthrough" or a "disruptive innovation". The combinations can also create an incremental difference that could be called an "upgrade to version 2.0", "added features and functionality" or a "sustaining innovation". In either case, the combinations avoid the pitfall of making the same difference as every other new entrant and incumbent provider.