Square Watermelons?

Thanks to Guy Kawasaki for pointing us to this story from Dave Knox’s Hard Knox Life blog

It seems that Japanese grocery stores had a problem selling watermelons.  It’s not that the Japanese don’t like the melons.  They do.  The problem was that both grocery stores and refrigerators are smaller in Japan making it hard for retailers and consumers to store them.

Some local farmers took on the challenge of coming up with a more practical fruit.  Their solution, while they’re still on the vine, put each melon in a box.  As the fruit grows, it takes on the shape of the box, growing up to be a cube-shaped melon. 

Many people might assume that a watermelon cube is an impossibility.  Others might launch a multi-million dollar plan to genetically re-engineer the fruit into something easier to store and ship.  As it turns out, the solution wasn’t just possible, it was very simple and inexpensive.  Yet Japanese consumers are paying a premium for the new, improved melons.

Knox lists five tips for successful innovation:

  1. Don’t assume.  Many things that were once thought to be impossible are now common.
  2. Question habits. "We’ve always done it this way" almost never justifies anything.
  3. Be creative. Some of us are more creative than others, but we all have the ability to create.  It just takes practice and perseverance.
  4. Look for a better way.  Sound familiar?  See Tacony Corporation’s mission statement on the left.
  5. Impossibilities often aren’t.  Similar to number one.  We all do things every day that were once thought to be impossible.   A phone in your pocket?  Send and receive email from a computer the size of a paperback book from the local coffee shop with no wires?  A television that’s five feet across and only a few inches thick?  A woman and an African-American running for president?  The list goes on and on.

Is there anything  you can add to Knox’s list?

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