Schumpeter defined innovation as the formation of new connections which drive economic growth. In The Nature of Technology, Brian Arthur reinforces this idea by saying that all new economic ideas build on the combination of things that already exist. In this case, Dodocase has come up with an innovative craft-based business model by combining the idea of artisan book-binding techniques with the new technology of the iPad. Both of these are then combined to answer the question ‘what if our iPad case looked like a Moleskine notebook?’
There is so much emphasis these days on getting to scale that we often lose sight of the value of craft. Here is the video that documents the construction of the outer case – you can see the craft in the process:
The bamboo part of the case obviously requires some skill to build as well.
The really interesting part of the Dodocase story to me is the price: it lists for about $60 US – which as about as much or less than you’d pay for nearly all of the mass-produced iPad cases that are available. Traditionally, we’ve often thought that the problem with craft-based business models is that it is a much more expensive way to produce things.
But as the Dodocase shows, this is not always the case. The real problem with craft is that it is slower. There is currently a 4-6 week wait list to buy one.
Innovation is about coming up with new combinations of ideas. They don’t always have to be cutting-edge things. The Dodocase is a great example of combining ideas that have been around for a long time – people have been binding books in this way for centuries, and the Moleskine-style design has been around for ages as well. They’ve combined these two ideas to come up with something that is unique.
And pretty cool…
(hat tip to CrunchGear for pointing me to these two videos)