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I’ll Be There For You: Innovation and Infomercials

What I used to hate about being an early bird was that there was nothing to watch on TV, only the news or Teleshopping. I absolutely loathed infomercials, so many were overdramatic and full of hyperbole. It wasn’t until I was re-watching a classic episode of FRIENDS, when I realised the real charm of infomercials.

In Season 3, Episode 4, Joey is shown to be acting in an infomercial for funnels for milk. He, or his character for the ad, Kevin, is originally shown tearing open a carton of milk with significant force, spilling the contents all over the table. The solution was a funnel that could pierce the top of the milk carton and pour the milk from the spout, avoiding mess. I remember watching this episode as a teenager and finding the whole idea rather ridiculous. However, I had never had to open a carton of milk before, all of my milk was in a plastic bottle. It wasn’t until I lived with my friend Holly* who has issues with mobility, particularly with her hands, when I realised how significant an invention like this actually was. Holly would often joke about her hands just stopping working during the day, leading her to lose her grip on cups without handles, cutlery or stationary. Living with her allowed me to realise that the milk funnel from FRIENDS was not actually for the general public, experiencing the rare scenario of tearing a milk carton in half when struggling to open it. Instead, the purpose of this infomercial in the show, just like many that you encounter in Teleshopping etc. are actually innovations and tools that could possibly significantly improve the quality of life of the disabled community.

During 2020, in his YouTube video, Innovation is Not Efficient, Simon Sinek said that innovation was “the application of technology or engineering or something to solve a problem” . Which, through this lens of enlightenment certainly sounds like what many infomercials are.

Many people have seen the viral Facebook videos that show a person attempting to eat cereal, pasta, peas, etc., and their trembling hands mean that by the time the spoon is to their mouth, most of the contents of the spoon have been spilt either back into the bowl, or onto the table from which they were eating. The solution; cutlery which does not tremble. It is thicker, easier to hold onto, and hold the contents of the spoon etc. still. Many companies have produced pieces like this, but one of the most efficient for the target audience is certainly Mobility Smart’s steady spoon, which would provide people with not only Tourette’s Syndrome, that have physical tics, but also Parkinson’s Disease a heightened sense of autonomy.

Another innovation of this kind, advertised as an infomercial was the sock slider. My grandfather cannot bend his knees in order to put on his socks and shoes. Therefore, innovations such as the sock slider, a product which eases the sock onto the wearer’s feet, similarly to a shoe horn, would certainly aid my grandfather and people with similar mobility issues put on his socks, even if he would still require assistance in putting on his shoes. Having a greater sense of autonomy and independence is certainly increasingly important amongst the aging population, as they suddenly find themselves struggling to do things which those around them can do with ease. However, many who encountered the advertisements for the sock slider or other products of this nature regarded it as a product for the lazy instead. This point of view is wrong. The creation and marketing of these products is done in such a way that it appears to many as a novelty, and yet, it can easily provide many elderly people, and disabled people with a greater sense of independence which may have dissipated over their lifetime due to complications with their pre-existing conditions, or in the development of subsequent problems.

Innovations of this kind are really exciting. We look forward to seeing many other creations of this kind. Equally, we strive to create a workplace where innovations and imagination can thrive. In an agile workspace individuals are able to create a space where they can create products and services etc. that are amazing!

Based in London, U.K., and founded in 2016 by Arvind Mishra The Agile Works (, is an up-and-coming recruitment and Agile consulting company. Arvind is a Certified SAFe SPC and regularly delivers both private and public SAFe certification workshops.

He is a design thinking expert, Sr. enterprise, portfolio Agile Coach with over a decade of experience working as an Agile coach in diverse industries such as banking, pharma, retail, auto, oil, gas, consulting and government.

The Agile Works; a small team of three strive to help shape the leadership's mind-set and values in readiness for their business transformation journey challenges. With Arvind at the helm, we strive to provide you with the agility tools to make your company that can thrive, and not just survive.

To book a consultation, or for any enquiries, you can contact Arvind via the following email address:

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