I saw an interesting post titled Is India Not So Innovative, After All?. Somehow, the word Innovation is being misused, twisted and turned and nobody seems to be noticing. (my original comment to the post is here, part of which is reproduced below).
Guys, it’s innovation we’re talking about here. Does anybody care to explain what the word means? Does it need a context? Is it a process or a domain – or both? Or many other things coming together?
Talk to technology and business people and they will somehow try to see it as a tool. So researching a need and then developing a solution to address it is Innovation. Right? That’s what I get from reading the post. Then why call it innovation, why not keep calling it R&D? Are we simply using the word because it sounds nicer?
It’s not about India being innovative, it’s about Indians being innovative. I believe we are innovative and perhaps the only nation that has all the ingredients needed for innovation. Of course, this means expanding the definition – oops! almost fell into the same trap myself there – (understanding is a better word) understanding of Innovation.
Some questions I continue to look for answers are:
Ever wondered why “K” is silent when it prefixes “N”. Knowledge has the same silent character.
Knowledge, we know is a prerequisite for innovation. All kinds of knowledge streams flow through us or, at the meta-metaphysical level could we think of human beings as boats flowing along a knowledge stream that forms the river of time.
The Bhagavad Gita, the fountainhead of Hindu life philosophies, in one of its many dimensions, describes wisdom as being ‘knowledge in action’. Innovation may be seen as the method of action applied to a life situation – problem or not – by joining the right dots.
Radical thought is rooted in introspection, emotion and the subconscious. Innovation can only happen when invisible [k]nodes connect cultures, societies and human beings and [k]networks weed their way into the traditional corporate ethos to dismantle existing control centres.
There’s this fancy company that has a fancy business model called multi level marketeering (MLM). I will not name it, not because I’m afraid to but because putting their name here would be another way to virally market them. Sorry guys, you’re not going to be able to leverage my blog to achieve your unethical goals.
What’s my problem? After all in business, the end (profit for you) always justifies the means doesn’t it? And isn’t there a well known legal tenet that says ‘customer beware’? But I haven’t come across any philosophy that says ’employee beware’.
Now these guys say that theirs is an innovative business model. They don’t need infrastructure, payroll, management – just a set of products that use the credibility of unsuspecting human beings down a never ending chain. The model ‘invisibly’ erodes the value of the unsuspecting victims’ existing social networks for a miniscule fraction of the return that the glib entrepreneur makes every time a sale is effected.
Can you even imagine what they’re selling? Packaged cosmic energy!! I’m not kidding you. That’s why I called it marketeering and not marketing. In my dictionary marketeering has all the ingredients of criminality but sadly, no legal system in the world has classified it as such. That would make all businesses criminal right?
Welcome to my trinary era. Call it binary 2.0. I have a reason to do so and a good one at that. Because I plan to write a book titled Web 2.0 101 which will discuss the new thinking required to innovate – even to survive – in post-Industrial times.
Take for example the Executive Dashboard. When I transpose Web 2.0 philosophies coupled with FoS, it makes all our BI companies look Jurassic. I’m not talking about creating snazzy animated callouts or jazzing up interactions. I’m talking about individualization and making the technology pieces completely invisible.
Shown here is a fine example of a customizable, desktop dashboard from Serence, that epitomizes Web 2.0 dashboard design. No more static fuel-gauge graphics that confuse the user more than providing the quick overview s\he’s looking for.
… while today’s business intelligence (BI) software vendors have developed technologies that can gather data from disparate sources, transform data into more usable forms, store huge repositories of data in high-performance databases, and present data in the form of reports, “we have made little progress in using that information effectively.”
One part of the problem is in accurately visualizing ‘what’ needs to be presented and the remaining parts are in understanding ‘how’ each business user needs to see information, critical to the role s\he’s performing in an organisation, so that decision responses are timely.
The aspect of innovation I’m touching upon requires that we bring a width of knowledge – user psychology, state of technology, business understanding, data visualization – and ‘right’-brain thinking (pun is intentional) into the equation rather than the Industrial R&D mindsets and processes.
Innovation is perhaps the best example of a mashup.