Innovation or Invention? – Dog Washing Machine

Innovation or Invention? - Dog Washing MachineI saw the second picture in this article (of a dog washing machine in Japan) over my wife’s shoulder during a leisurely reading of the Sunday Seattle Times yesterday. I think it was in the Parade magazine, and as I started writing this article I found the same picture posted two years ago here, so it became clear that this idea – a dog and cat washing machine – has been already productized and in use for at least a year in Japan. But then I found the first picture in this article (which looks a lot like my daughter’s dog) in an article about the Dog-o-Matic that appeared in The Daily Mail back in 2009, meaning some inventive Brit appears to have beat out someone from Japan by nearly a year.

Dog Washing Machine - JapanNow, I can say with reasonable certainty that very few dog or cat owners really enjoy giving Fido or Princess a bath, and so the idea of a machine that you lead Fido or Princess into and shut the door and push a button to accomplish the job, sounds very appealing. It can be an incredibly messy operation fraught with danger and frustration (thus the rise of self-service dog washing places), but when you look at the first picture, is the emotional trauma of the experience something that dog or cat owners (or dogs/cats for that matter) could endure over the long term?


Looking at these images, they remind me of an experience my wife and I (or mostly my wife) had in an automatically cleaned public restroom at a train station in Versailles, France that was just about as traumatic. But that’s a story for another day…

So, what do you think? Invention or innovation?

Is this something that will catch on with dog owners around the world?

I’ll leave you with a video of the Japanese version in use:

About Braden Kelley

Braden Kelley is a Design Thinking, Innovation and Transformation consultant, a popular innovation speaker, workshop leader, and creator of The Change Planning Toolkit™. He is the author of Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire from John Wiley & Sons and Charting Change from Palgrave Macmillan. Braden has been advising companies since 1996, while living and working in England, Germany, and the United States. Braden is a US Navy veteran and earned his MBA from top-rated London Business School. Follow him on Twitter and Linkedin.
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2 Responses to Innovation or Invention? – Dog Washing Machine

  1. Luke W says:

    Hah – novel, certainly – but I can’t shake the machine’s resemblance to a giant microwave – certainly not a connotation dog most owners would appreciate when looking to douse their beloved pet!

    • All of the comments on twitter and here on the blog so far are voting for it being an invention not an innovation, and after watching an even longer video than the one I embedded, it looked like seven to eight minutes of panic and torture for the pet. So I doubt they will achieve the mass adoption required for them to move from invention to innovation.


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