The Litany of Excuses Stifling Communication Innovation Part 1

Discussed in the previous article is the fact that as an industry we’re not innovating on our core service: communication.  I hear a litany of excuses as to why communication innovation has stopped, I show below a sample for your amusement and frustration.  In the next articles I’ll go through how those excuses can be solved or avoided or ignored.

It won’t work excuses:

  • We tried that service (or similar service) in our market and it failed (and we’re never ever going to try again)
  • It will not work in our market (because I’m a 50 year old guy who understands all my customers better than they know themselves)
  • We have a similar service already launched (and are not going to experiment in trying to make it better or address other customer segments with a similar service)
  • A feature of your service overlaps with an existing service
  • Our network can not support such as service (even though such services are going over the top today)
  • It looks a bit like RCS (Rich Communication Suite), which we’re not sure we want to launch, but because it looks a bit like something we may do in the future we’re not going to do it

Impossible requirement excuses:

  • It must work across all devices (even though most devices will never use it)
  • We need additional (random) features included before we could consider it
  • It must work on IMS (even though it doesn’t need to)
  • It must work across all our customers from day one (even though most will never use it)
  • It must conform to our process and design norms (but we’re not going to tell you what they are, and when you find them out you’ll have to build it on your dime)
  • It must integrate with all our existing platforms (even though it can work fine in the current configuration)
  • It must be delivered through our preferred SI or NEP (who will copy / kill the service immediately)
  • It must launch and be immediately successful with no chance of revision given market learning
  • You must work through our app store / portal (which will immediately reject the service because its communications centric)

We can’t do anything at the moment excuses:

  • We can only focus on 4 service launches per year (because we only back major successes like Video Telephony, Mobile TV, Push To Talk, See What I See, Mobile IM, etc.)
  • We just don’t have the bandwidth (to do our job)
  • We have a network lock-down as we launch LTE so cannot do anything for the next 6-9 months
  • Bob has left the business and we’re waiting on his replacement (who never comes)
  • We’re waiting on budgets to be confirmed (sometime in the next 6 months)
  • We’re re-organizing or laying off people (again this year)
  • Someone in the organization doesn’t like such services

Our processes / business structure won’t let us excuses:

  • That cannot be implemented without changing our IN / product catalog / CRM / billing / network
  • We cannot bill / sell services under $5 per month
  • We have a backlog of 24 months on billing updates (even though the service doesn’t need to be in that pipeline)
  • You must work through our innovation group (which has no track record of launching services in its 5 years of operation as they’re not product managers who make the decisions)
  • You must talk with Bob who will then pass you to Bill, who will then pass you to Mary, who will then pass you to Paul, who will then pass you back to Bob.

2 thoughts on “The Litany of Excuses Stifling Communication Innovation Part 1


    This is one of the funniest / insightful posts I read on the telecom world.
    The “We tried that service (or similar service) in our market and it failed ” is the one that struck a cord with me. I’ve always found it interesting how people tend to attribute the failure of a service to how the service was *supposed* to work. Not how it worked in practice, how it was marketed, how it was packaged and so on.

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