• Michael Weeding

If we have learnt anything from the history of innovation it is to be patient in our expectations of


The challenge for Mobile Payments to be adopted widely by consumers is very well documented, the concept that it is a solution in search of a problem has been used to emphasise the fact that the market right now is not being driven by any specific or urgent consumer need. Before we use this as an acceptable reason to conclude that the Mobile Wallet will not succeed we should at least remember that many other innovations that are now main stream had to evolve over many years before they became widely adopted by consumers.

The Electric light bulb was not invented by Thomas Edison, it was British chemist Humphry Davy in the early 1800s that created light with electricity generated from a battery, over the years many people evolved the original design but it was Thomas Edison in 1879 that developed a light bulb that would become the version people would eventually buy. Wide spread adoption did take another 40 years as electricity companies we forced to find innovative ways to use electricity to promote usage, as a result they developed infra structure such as the street light and the practical uses of the light bulb that was developed by Edison was promoted to consumers which finally drove its popularity.

The steam engine has been credited for driving the Industrial Revolution, a time in which the world experienced considerable change as industries adopted this technology to improve their production processes and contrary to what you may believe James Watt was not the original inventor of the steam engine as he has been credited. Thomas Newcomen was the first to use steam in 1712 and this was modified by James Watt in 1769. Watt improved what Newcomen had developed by making it more powerful and even more importantly developing a way for the engine to produce a rotary motion which paved the way for more practical uses such as the invention of the steam train.

The reality is that it takes longer than you would initially think to develop something innovative and then drive adoption usually involving experimentation and numerous redesigns. The good news for the Mobile Wallet is that with so many organisations across the world and from many different industries investing billions of dollars in both time and resources driving innovation and experimentation this should pave the way for a shorter timeline to mass adoption when compared to the light bulb. It is even better news that many people across many industries believe in that fact that this technology will change the world by providing new opportunities for consumers to interact with merchants. Yes there are challenges ahead but it is more exciting to think of the opportunities and if we have learnt anything from history it is that we should not to be too impatient, as they say good things do take time.

#Innovation