It's no different in any industry. Hunger is the key component to innovation. How well that Hunger serves you, though, relies heavily on a recipe of awareness, obligation, and strategy... with obligation being the least amount of the ingredients you ever want to have when endeavoring to innovate. The fact is, it's just harder to grab hold of a new market, the more mouths you have to feed. Such is the reason risk becomes seemingly more distasteful with every new place mat you set at the table. And it's the same reason food television is currently suffering from a bit of stagnation, if not, starvation. The behemoth television networks that run the kitchens are being weighted down by financial realities that are forcing them to regurgitate as oppose to innovate. And in some ways, I can't blame them, although, in other ways, I can...just as I, and so many others, can blame them for the blandness that has befallen food television of late.
No longer cooking with gas, it seems innovative food television has slowly gotten lost in the sauce, with the same three dishes being offered daily: sickeningly sweet, highly over processed, or charbroiled (in other words, competitive style cooking). Where the menus use to be alive with freshness and variation, they've now grown stale as the networks trade innovation for the safety of dollars. Unfortunately, the ones left under served are the patrons who continue to lose their zest for food television at the hands of a "cookie cutter" mentality combined with one too many chefs spending too much time in the kitchen as oppose to on the floor. History is cluttered with many a demise underlined by the phrase "Let them eat cake!" And for every time that phrase has been uttered, is another example of how hunger can inspire innovation to meet opportunity. To be complacent is just as good as inviting your enemies through the door then pushing your guests towards them.
As Apple Inc. has taught us, innovation is the bread of life. As such, it must be made a priority for all companies whose primary goal is to continue to rise, especially the big ones. The head honchos over at Apple Inc. know that in order to meet their obligations to those who helped Steve Jobs and the rest of them plant the seeds, harvest the wheat, mill the flour, roll the dough, and bake the bread, they must keep the needs of those who butter that bread in first place. Otherwise, someone else will. And in today's environment, where the number of choices in any one industry (but especially technology and television) span multiple platforms, the customer is always "more" than right. They are, in fact, never wrong... lest they be but one step away from an upgrade and a cookie. Truth be told, you needn't trade innovation for dollars at all; rather, you must learn to bake in two ovens at the same time to ensure productivity, longevity, and a wait list out the door beyond just today.
In the case of food television, though, where this is not happening, alternate networks are passing out toques to innovators whose minds are sharp, hands are skilled, and hearts are overflowing with passion, in hopes, that they may eventually carve out substantial positions for themselves and these ravenous networks in an industry ripe for the picking. My new food series, Four Star Family Recipes, on Mom TV is a prime example of this.
A mixture of "Real food, Real Talk, and Real-Time Recipe Swapping" between moms, this is a show that takes a cutting edge approach to food television and the response has been staggering. Originating from my recent book, The Four-Star Diet: Based Upon The Wisdom Of General Colin Powell & Other Ridiculously Brilliant Leaders, brand extensions are already underway and new opportunities are cropping up daily. And all I actually did was keep my ear to the ground, place my finger in the air, and put the "Real" back into food television. Like Apple Inc., I innovated to feed a need and the customer thanked me and keeps coming back for more...so much so, in fact, that we had to increase the number of shows per month to keep up with demand.
Truth be told, there is little safety in dollars when dollars are misspent. In fact, if ever a network was to take a risk, it is in misspent dollars rather than continued innovation. And after they then have to sell the cow, for little more than a handful of magic beans, the odds of those beans actually germinating and then flourishing into an enormous bean stalk is highly unlikely as beans need fertile soil to grow. And what's already been proven by the giants in food television today is that the soil currently offered is all but stripped. Nothing will grow in it... nothing, per se, until someone of influence finally realizes that the golden egg isn't harbored in the hen up above but in innovation right in front of them. Unfortunately, not every fairy tale has a happy ending. It would be unfortunate if this one rotted on the vine as well.