Thursday, January 19, 2006


Me and another colleague of mine had this interesting conversation yesterday afternoon over lunch. We were basically taking a snapshot of the kind of exisiting Services & the Products which are being developed and available in the marketplace. If I could choose a word to summarize the entire debate we had then I would choose the term 'Innovation'. Here is my effort to summarize some of the best articles I discovered over last 6 months, which depicts Innovation in various walks of life and not just limited to Software development.

So what exactly do we understand by the term 'Innovation'?

According to my favorite source for information Wiki, here is an excerpt," Innovation is the introduction of new ideas, goods, services, and practices which are intended to be useful (though a number of unsuccessful innovations can be found throughout history). The main driver for innovation is often the courage and energy to better the world. An essential element for innovation is its application in a commercially successful way. Innovation has punctuated and changed human history (consider the development of electricity, steam engines, motor vehicles, et al)."

But, I actually like this one from,"Introduction of a new idea into the marketplace in the form of a new product or service or an improvement in organization or process."

Why I like this one, because Innovation is not always about introducing NEW ideas, products or services into marketplace, rather improvization of the EXISTING ideas, products or services. Just to back myself on the last sentence I made, I brought the examples of Gmail and Adsense from Google. Both the technologies are quite old and there are lot of companies who are providing Email services for free for over a decade now, starting of with Microsoft's Hotmail. Same with the case of Advertisements or Ads; Ads have been the key source of income for many of the DOT companies for quite some time. As you see there are many companies who are providing both these services, but once Google started offering them the whole world talks about or atleast it gets noticed from the existing players who start working on their products/services to offer the same. Not to forget the 'Google Maps' & 'Google Earth', which is really cool & fast. Tristan Louis has done a great job in summarizing as well as comparing all the stuff Google has been working with the existing players in a very simple way, read here 'Reading the Google Tea Leaves'.

This is what I have to say, no matter what we are building [products/services] today, irrespective of how many players exist in the marketplace, we need to build it in such a way that it has more value to the end user.

I have admired few companies for many years for the kind of products or services they have come up with over the years, some of them I remember as of now are 3M, Du Pont, Apple, Maya, Sony, Nokia, Honda, Toyota, ThoughtWorks and my favorite Google;). I just did a search on Google to find out if there is anyone who enlists Innovative companies in the world, guess what BusinessWeek does list some of the companies I have mentioned, click here to see the list.

Here more food for thought on Innovation: Du Pont Innovation | Not All Innovations Are Equal | Why Smart Companies Do Dumb Things | Ideas and Inspiration For Brand Planners and Creative Thinkers | Designing for Experience [PDF:In-depth case study of a library redesign]

Source: Du Pont | HBS Working Knowledge | Business Week | Fast Company | Tristan Louis | Marc Rettig |


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