The deliberate misapplication of products and services can often be more significant than their originally intended purpose. Serendipity-based discovery is how we progress.
Service providers and product designers put a lot of effort into creating new products and services for us.
They then spend even more time and money introducing the fruits of their labours into the marketplace, often going to great lengths to explain their purpose and the benefits intended.
But the real fun starts when people get their hands on the shiny new things.
We instinctively explore the look, feel and functionality; figuring out our own personal value propositions for the object to see how we can use something. It’s human nature to be curious – and to exploit opportunity.
This is one of the true beauties of human ingenuity – our knack of recognising opportunities to bend new situations, especially technology and systems to our unanticipated advantage.
Sooner or later, if something is possible in the field of human endeavour, it will most often be done by adapting an existing tool or technique. So don’t ever be surprised when someone deliberately ‘misuses’ a product or service, to achieve an unintended purpose.
Just remember that emergent strategy trumps intended strategy, every time.
I hereby coin a term for this fundamental and timeless phenomenon: misuseful. With a little bit of effort, creators and users alike can make almost anything misuseful, if we take enough care to keep our minds constantly open to unexpected possibility…