Seeing the Forest wo Getting Lost

by Colin Berkshire

I’m always surprised to see how willing many people are to suspend reality when making critical thinking. I can’t count how many committees have I sat through with a hideously flawed idea.

It isn’t that I am opposed to people and committees working with a flawed idea to make it great. Ideas come from needs and those needs may end up being cleverly solved for a profit. But tragically, all too often a group can’t see the forest and gets lost. That’s expensive for a company.

Consider this innovative product…it is a carry on suitcase that follows you around. You don’t need to pull it. It is an idea that should have been killed the next morning before the hangover even wore off.

This idea has serious problems. It was pretty clearly designed by somebody that doesn’t fly much.

  1. I don’t know of many people that have a problem wheeling their carry on luggage.
  2. Carry on luggage is limited in most of the world to 7kg or about 15 pounds. At a time when people are choosing luggage that is ultra lightweight this unit packs in batteries, motors And a hard shell case. How much payload does that leave? Probably enough for a prohibited water bottle.
  3. Imagine the times you do need to tote it: upstairs in your home, into a taxi, up an escalator, or onto a TSA scanner conveyor belt. It’s awkward size and orientation of the handle in the middle of a box looks like a sore back to me.
  4. I hope it needs fewer batteries than one of the new “hover boards” or else it’s going to be on the no-fly list.
  5. Can it hop a curb? Ok, how about a sidewalk crack in China? Won’t I look grand coaxing it into and out of an elevator with a remote control.

See it in action:

And yet I’ll bet somebody thinks there is a business opportunity for them. It looks like they have blown (aka “invested”) a lot of money making the working prototype.

I’m not writing to slam this pretty stupid invention. And I don’t want to discourage innovation. But “willful suspension of disbelief” belongs at the theater, not in a business environment.

I’m known in committees that I usually attend at most three meetings on any topic. If the committee survives those three meetings then it is likely in the right track.

At your next committee meeting, don’t let them get lost in the forest and make something like this “Fido Suitcase.”