Are we victims of “Galapagos Syndrome”

21 10 2010

 Rick Mitchell wrote:

A friend who has just come back from Japan introduced me to what is known there as “The Galapagos Syndrome”. It’s actually about… mobile phones but it refers, of course, to Charles Darwin’s observation that the various species of animals and birds are visibly different on the various islands of the famous archipelago. They have evolved separately because the conditions are different and the islands are too far apart for there to be much contact between them. It seems that a similar thing has happened to mobile phones in Japan, but more dramatically.Japanese mobiles are much more sophisticated than ones in Europe or America. Just check out the Sharp 9125H for example: it has a fold-out screen, GPS, digital television reception, video conferencing, and a barcode scanner. It also works as a contactless credit card; and security is by face recognition. But apparently they can’t really sell them outside of Japan. This may be partly because their network is better than elsewhere but the commentators reckon it’s mostly because Japanese users have developed higher expectations and tolerances for technical novelty. Their ecosystem for electronic consumer goods has developed over the years to be a lot more sophisticated and demanding than ours, and is now giving rise to its own separate species, as it were.
This really looks like an example of divergent evolution and maybe shows that the world is not, after all, becoming a blander and more uniform place. But it will be interesting to see what happens in the longer run.

We’d be interested to hear about examples that you have encountered, so do let us know.




2 responses

2 11 2010
Wisepreneur Innovation Blog

Divergent and convergent innovation occurs naturally. Both play important roles in service and product development. As Darwin would likely point out, the type of innovation is not so important as the survival of the fittest idea.

13 11 2010

Hi – thanks for visiting us. We wondered whether you had any specific examples?

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