I have been reading a book titled The Game Changer coauthored by Ram Charan and A.G. Lafley. Ram addressed the 2009 NFPA Annual Conference earlier this year. Lafley is the Chairman and CEO of Proctor & Gamble.
The book deals with innovation and how it is essential to any business and how it can drive revenue and profit growth. They review two types of innovation, disruptive and incremental innovation.
The disruptive kind of innovation changes the game by obsoleting or transforming current markets. There have been 17 disruptive innovations at P&G since the 1940s and they are detailed in the book.
Incremental changes, on the other hand, are smaller by impact but still necessary for growth and progress of a company. They are either updates to current products or changes to meet the market's demands. Remember, the customer is the boss.
Fluid power technology has experienced both disruptive and incremental innovations during the same time period. Certainly the development of fluid power as a source of driving a system was a disruptive innovation. Mobile hydraulics was a disruptive innovation.
There have been and continue to be incremental innovations in fluid power such as improved controls, better feedback, and instrumentation to improve accuracy. There have been many incremental innovations to reduce leakage and to improve cleanliness.
Hydraulics & Pneumatics magazine has been reporting on these innovations for over 60 years because that is one of our major missions, to let engineers in the marketplace know about changes, improvements, and innovations. That is what we do and plan to continue doing that in-print, online, and in-person.