Innovation: Its simple than we think

Why do you think innovation is not happening in our part of world? Or if I can rephrase it, “Why is it less as compared to US, UK and other developed economies”?

From what I think, the basic concept of innovation is far misunderstood by us. We feel innovation a creation of something new which will make a dent in the universe and take the world by its feat. Yes of course, that is what Steve Jobs did and that is what Samsung is doing with its electronics.

But was it that Steve Jobs can only do it? Is it that after Steve Jobs, Apple has stopped innovating?

Here is a simple thought process about Innovation and what is holding us back.

What is Innovation?

Innovation is not the same as invention and therefore out of the reach of the average person. It’s simpler than we think.

You don’t have to create something mind-blowing and entirely new, like the iPod or the Air Plane. Often,

innovation simply means making incremental improvements to something that already exists … And frequently that’s accomplished by borrowing and adapting an idea or approach or technology from another field altogether.

How did Steve Jobs invent the iPod? He just mixed different ideas together to listen music (which was already there in the form of a Walkman), to have a storage of music (already had flash disks) and to make it portable. That’s it. Do you think there was anything awesome in these 3 separate ideas? But the way he brought them together is known to the world.

Taking the example of Winjit, How do you think Bug Clipper, Corporate Dashboard and AppAdda were born?

I feel it was just plain curiosity of “Can this be done? Can this be improved? Why won’t this work?”

A lot of us don’t do it. When in a problem (be at job or at home) we tend to agree on one solution (which most of us approve) and then tend to implement it without thinking if it’s the best solution at that time. Sometimes it’s the follow-up question, or a sincere thought to the solution we are implementing can be the game-changing revelation.

Innovation is not done by experts, but by kids or someone who is novice to that field. Innovators have more in common with the kids rather than the experts.

Image how a curious kid tends to understand a problem and ask question. He keeps on asking question until he is satisfied with an answer or has a question which doesn’t have an answer. This is when innovation happens.

I think that is how we innovated in Hive where Ashwin Kandoi kept asking why 10 hours to import data (of course 200 GB of data)? Can we do option A? What happens if we add this to Option A? Why won’t Option B work?

If we were not curious enough, the importing would still have taken 10 + hours compared to 1 hour it takes now.

As Claud Legrand, co-author of “Innovative Intelligence”, explains

“In the industrial economy, the person who wins is the expert,” and “In the knowledge economy, the person who wins is the one who has the process to solve complex problems.”

Since our ancestors first stood upright, human beings have been innovating: more and better tools, different and improved circumstances, and more effective and efficient ways of doing things. It’s pretty silly to think we’ve suddenly all lost that basic drive now that we’ve hit the twenty-first century. If anything, our capacity to innovate is exponentially greater because of our unprecedented ability to share information and ideas, which also makes it much easier to take something from one field and apply it to another.

1 Comment

  1. Jeff Pinkham

    Richard Florida has just released a revision of his book: “The Rise of the Creative Class”. It illustrate the point you make that there is no geographical limit to creativity but more importantly that the Creative Class has a strong positive impact on all societies.


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