Ian Bogost for The Atlantic:
I think it’s a natural occurrence considering the proliferation of internet usage and services, enabling platforms like Kickstarter and social media in general.
This is probably a poor example to illustrate the problem, which I agree exists. They wouldn’t pursue it if it didn’t have the potential to make headphone technology better, which it does. (This post by, you guessed it, John Gruber succinctly goes into the possible scenarios and outcomes.)
The Mahabis slipper is used as an example more prominently, and rightly so. Their marketing oozes of the “reinvention” mentality — if you give their site a visit, you’ll see all the red flags: colors treated as exclusive “editions”, models taken straight from the Pacific Northwest, and even a page for the Mahabis brand.
Bogost again, after highlighting its downfalls as a functioning product:
In its place is also the false (and prevalent) notion that the product alone can foster a certain lifestyle, stemming from an overestimation by its marketing of the product’s capacity to fundamentally change one’s life.
Brands like Muji pull it off because they have multiple products which are designed to work together functionally and complement each other aesthetically. Sure, Muji doesn’t come to mind when you think about innovation, but if you look around, not many brands do what they do, much less as well as they do.
Trends tend to come and go, and sometimes they’ll work like a pendulum, as does many design trends. Once we’re tired of this “innovation” delusion, I’d like to think we’ll float back down to the reality of things.
Source: The Atlantic