I have a real problem with electric cars – I keep wondering how the electricity was generated. What if the power was produced in a coal-fired plant? If it wasn’t cleanly produced, is there a point to having an electric car?
But I digress. The main reason I have yet to buy an electric car has little to do with the above (although if you are a current electric car owner, have you spent any time thinking about how is the electricity powering it was generated) is the styling.
Every car, with very few exceptions, is incredibly dull. Just like there is little innovation in the smartphone design space (apart from the smattering of folding phones we’ve seen recently), there is very little innovation in the car design space. Every sedan looks alike; every SUV looks alike; every truck looks alike. They even steal bits and pieces of designs from their competitors to the point that sometimes you can barely tell brands from each other.
This is one of the reasons I traded in my last car, a bland-o-let black sedan, for a bright red 2018 Kia Soul, one of the few vehicles on the road with some style.
But I digress again. It’s 2020 people. Sure, by now we should have flying cars. But since we don’t, could I at least settle for cool, futuristic-looking regular cars? No, not even that. Innovation in auto design is stuck in “me too” sameness.
So when I saw the Cybertruck, I thought – wow – finally – a fresh design for a vehicle. Sure, it’s been derided by some and loved by others, but there is one thing about the Cybertruck of which there is no doubt – it’s different. Finally, something different.
It reminds me of that line in the film “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” where the main non-ethnic character complained that all of the girls his friend introduced him to were “all the same” – meaning non-ethnic, “white-bread” women. What we see today in the auto market is bland sameness across the board. Maybe that’s what is killing the sedan business.
It took an extreme innovator like Musk to build something like the Cybertruck. One wonders why. Are we, as humans, so beloved of bland sameness that we really want more of the same – or nothing different from what the rest of us want? Do we really want to live in a world where so much is similar? Are we still living in a world where falling into line and doing the same thing that everyone else is doing always applauded? Have we yet to grow as a species which delights in being different from the crowd, instead of always falling in line with it?
All human beings are unique individuals, why do they have to all like and hate the same things?
We’ve been conditioned to fit in – not to make waves – to not talk to strangers – to not be strange, weird, or different. But innovation comes from being strange, weird, and different. In our invention sessions, we actively ask for and get the strange weird and different ideas. These typically truly crack open real innovation. As innovators, we seek out the unusual and new.
Human beings are born seeking different and new. We get this bred out of us as we grow up. But all of us still have that internal yearning for the unusual and unique. If only more of us tapped that inner yearning, we might finally rid ourselves of the bland sameness.