Do you remember the Polaroid camera?
This amazing invention by Edwin Land that gave photographs in 60 seconds. In fact, my school friend’s father had one for his business. I still remember the thrill of peeling back the paper cover to see the image taken a few moments before. Of course, the film’s cost was horrendous. Yet those acrid smelling pictures were truly magical. This technology is gone however; overtaken like most film cameras by the digital revolution.
And so, just as I asked recently about the fate of Kodak, I wondered too of Polaroid? Then I realised that my cell phone charger was made by none other than Polaroid. Thinking about it, I realised that there were many of their products in my supermarket’s gadget isle. So, Polaroid has survived when other others such as Ilford and Agfa had not.
Good on them, but how?
Well, Polaroid’s mission statement explains:
Polaroid has been a trusted global brand for 80 years and is best known for pioneering instant photography. We embrace the nostalgia inherent in our past, allowing us to embrace old technologies through new technologies and beyond.
I rather like the idea of embracing the past but then using it to make things new in the future. The Church could learn from this vision. For, if we wish to bring people and Christ’s Kingdom closer together, then our ’products’ need to be constantly evolving. Put more brutally, gone should be panics over finding new members, more off-the-self services and fund-raising to be replaced with styles of worship and community that are radically more suited to the digital 21st Century. Since an openness to new ways of working would free us up to do better with less. It would help us give priority to the ‘why’ instead of the ‘how’.
So, what did for the instant Land camera? Ultimately the smartphone with its lens that gives truly instant images. The irony is that it could well be powered with a Polaroid charger.
That’s how they did it!