One marker for a disruptive technology is that those pushing the old technology won’t “get it”. When we created an active sitting chair that improved posture and strengthened core muscles, we initially pitched it to the furniture world, because, well, it was furniture. This industry was completely nonplussed, however: a chair without a back or arms couldn’t be a chair, and where was the lumbar support? So what was it? Certainly not furniture.
Eventually we came to understand that those ignoring us were right: we hadn’t created a better chair, we’d created an alternative to the chair; a solution to the substantial health problems that sitting still in office chairs created. And, because we weren’t selling furniture, we’d have to explore other ways for getting our chairs out into the world.
Fortunately a number of communities, in particular physical therapy, Pilates, yoga, Tai Chi, Feldenkrais, and others, embraced our approach of active sitting as a means to gradually improve posture and core strength. These allies were seeking more than just the momentary comfort of “support”, but were actually looking to overcome back pain once and for all, by fundamentally changing how folks move and sit.
And, because word of mouth is still the best marketing, these early enthusiast groups proved that lots of people love our chairs. Eventually the furniture world will find that there’s a far better way to sit than the “passive (but ergonomic!) slump”. Unfortunately this will likely take a while because change isn’t easy, and, well, big chair has a lot of legacy advertising to walk back: “back rest, foot rest, arm rests,… lumbar support!”. All of these “ergonomic” innovations were sold hard in an effort to sell more chairs.
Unfortunately, all were misguided marketing leading folks away from their naturally perfect posture. Sometimes revolutions take awhile but we’re pretty sure that big chair will eventually embrace active sitting. But you don’t have to wait.
If you’ve already embraced active sitting let us know; we love these stories. If you haven’t, well, let us know and we’ll make it easy for you to give it a try. We love sharing better sitting.
-Dr. Turner Osler