They're famous for it: Innovators and frustration with "how things are". Here's one.
By Ryan Skinner (email)
I don't know Alex Vari. I've never met him, and I know basically nothing about what he has designed. What I do know is this: He's well-frustrated with conservatism in shipping. It's probably what gives innovators their spark - a bit of frustration, a bit of ingenuity, a bit of "goddamn it if this thing can't be done better".
He sent me a mail titled "marine innovation", and I thought it was a great little heartfelt essay on the state of innovation in shipping. I asked him if I could simply repost his letter here, and he said that I should do it. If you read it, and want to contact Alex directly, you can do so here.
My interest in this topic is that for the last few YEARS now I have been seeking support for a project I have for the development of a TOTALLY new hull design. I believe my design will overcome most of the problems currently faced by power-driven, larger vessels with regard to high and efficient speed.
Without going into the actual design itself, you may be interested to learn of my experiences in this quest. Almost without exception, all of the companies I have contacted so far are unprepared to handle the subject of innovation. They have no procedures in place to handle these types of approaches. In some cases, they are openly hostile when you indicated that there may be another way to look at the problem.
The problem I think is that basically they have no understanding of what innovation really means. Innovation rarely comes from a direction in which you are looking. Changes are usually incremental and we can handle these types of events. Innovation, however, is usually classed as - at best - a disruptive event, and - at worst - a destructive one.
It's all very well for the current players to pat each other on the back and carry on with business as usual, saying they are making changes and improvements. They have nicely divided the pie into its segments and are doing nicely, thank you. If, however, someone from outside of the "club", without the accepted credentials, experience, etc., raises the possibility that there may be another way, well, I can tell you from personal experience it's an uphill battle.
I suppose it's only natural. There is even a problem of language. How do you describe something new using old terminology. Craft are either displacement or planing or a bit of both, right? There is, however, another way, but as yet I have no word for it nor can I succinctly describe how it works.
Just a few thoughts about innovation from a frustrated innovator.
What do you fellow innovators think? Is this a common sore point?