Standard Amazon reviews usually comment on the quality of a given product or whether it met the manufacturer's original intent for use--how well did the coat rack hold coats, for example. But thankfully we have scientists to break up this predictable script.
As Avi Selk of The Washington Post reports, about a month ago, scientists discovered a brief review of a tea strainer, which a zoologist had been using to sift--what else?!--ants. The review was shared on Twitter and prompted an instant trend. Other honest reviews from scientists show items like thermometers, brushes, pillow cases, yoga mats, and even adult supplies like condoms used in the name of research. The hashtag #reviewforscience decorated most of the reviews.
But wait, you say. You're not a scientist. Why care? Three big reasons:
Scientists might follow strict research protocols, but they want answers by nature and are willing to use whatever they can to get them. The reviews are the perfect examples to motivate you when you need to think outside the box. They teach you not to set limits on yourself or what's around you. And because the scientific reviews are so open, they encourage others not to be afraid to share their concepts.
2. Customer control.
If you make any kind of product, these reviews should prove to you that, while you might go into production with a certain concept in mind, it's the customer who ultimately defines how what you make is used. Need a few examples from history featuring iconic brands?
- Coca-Cola started as a treatment for headache, anxiety, and drug dependence, not a beverage.
- Lysol started as an (ineffective and dangerous) douche and contraception, not a cleaner.
- Bubble wrap started as wallpaper, not packing material.
- Superglue started in an attempt to create clear, plastic gun sights, not a repair tool.
3. Scientific development.
To come up with new products, you're probably going to have to do some studies and experimentation to find what works. If the scientists you depend on can take everyday objects others make and use them to get results, you can ensure a steadier flow of profitable new designs. The reviews prove that existing tools can be your best friend in innovating.
Product reviews aren't always this amazing, but in a time when both the urgency and funding behind science isn't as stable, these should convince you that professionals are doing real work to move forward. The more they can do that, and the more present their efforts seem in our everyday lives, the more inspiration, better businesses, and higher quality of life we can all have.