Disruptive Innovation: Music to My Ears, Especially When Flexible Speakers Are Used


One of my favorite inventors from my days at Kimberly-Clark, Fung-jou Chen, recently visited Taiwan and shared with me the news of an exciting innovation hailing from that innovation-rich island. Thin films have been used to create flexible speakers that can deliver reasonable sound quality from an inexpensive, flexible sheet. The sound quality is worse than conventional speakers, but offers new dimensions of convenience, ease of use and installation, small volume requirements, and low cost–a classic formula for disruptive innovation. When this becomes fully commercialized, there will be opportunities to add sound to places and ennvironments where it was too costly or difficult before. The ability for many objects and surfaces to become more interesting, useful, and interactive may increase and enable a variety of new business models to be considered. Disruptive innovations of this kind can be the raw materials for further waves of innovation. Stay tuned!

Further information is available at Fast Company. The technology was developed by ITRI, the Industrial Technology Research Institute, Taiwan’s largest and one of the world’s leading high-tech research and development institutions. See their press release on the breakthrough FleXpeaker, which was given a prestigious award by the Wall Street Journal for this development. Below is a Youtube video showing a FleXpeaker in action.

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