Linear Thinking vs. Magical Thinking

Photo credit: www.apple.com

When it comes to innovation, there exists two paradigms. The straightforward way is to keep improving your products by following the existing direction. The other way is, taking a different path to create something new. The former is guided by linear thinking, and the latter, is driven by what we call magical thinking.

In the case of smartphones, we can see that linear thinking shines by maximising the size of the display screen on one side – as in the case of Xiaomi Mix and iPhone X. Do we need something magical here? Like most technical products, smartphones were designed and engineered by men. Without a doubt, the creation of smartphones was revolutionary – changing the lifestyles of hundreds of millions of people. A decade later, both the smartphone’s operating system (OS) and hardware have been dramatically improved. However, since iPhone was created in 2007, the other side of the screen has not been utilised by any smartphone manufacturer yet. So what’s could be the next surprise?

Before we answer the above question, let’s find out why everyone needs a smartphone in the first place? I heard this version of a story: Steve Jobs overhead a friend said he always takes three things with him when going out: his keys, his wallet, and a mobile phone. It does not matter now whether this story is true or not. What matters is that, keys, wallet and mobile phone, are the essential things that most people take when going out.

Now. Think again. For women, and maybe for some men, there is also a need for another item – “Mirror”. So, if a smartphone can be designed like a mirror, either in the shape of a mirror or with a screen acting as a mirror on the back of the smartphone – possibly made with a retina screen. This adjustment to the design addresses the “special” need of at least half of the existing smartphone consumers. All in all, we, as consumer, need a smartphone that can be used as a mirror – via a flip.

For outdoor lovers, however, you may not need a mirror that much. Then, what about a solar panel on the back of your phone? When you go hiking, camping or surfing, that extra “solar power” can be very handy.

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