220: New and improved ​

We see this written on products all the time.

But which is it: new, or improved?

  • ‘New’ gets our attention more than ‘improved’: We refer to the iPhone X as ‘new and improved’ when it’s ‘new’. It dares to try new things, for better and for worse. The iPhone 8, released at the same time, is ‘improved’. It’s what was, but better, without the ‘new’.
  • They’re different things, and both are important. We don’t want ‘new and improved’ pacemakers. Only ‘improved’ pacemakers. Similarly, we don’t want ‘improved’ workplace equality, but ‘new’ workplace culture.

We need to do things that are new; to try things that may move us forward, imperfectly. And we also need to perfect what’s there; to refine that which came before it.

And we should be clear: are we making something new, or improved?

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