Alternate Worlds of Innovation

When you work in software, you come to realize that you can pretty much create anything you set your mind to. Your biggest problems tend to be: coming up with a common vision for what you want to build and setting short term goals. Software folk love new methodologies. Agile and design thinking help us visualize new products and processes. Is it so easy for us to move fast because there is no legacy to deal with?

Dubai by Roman Logov
Photo by Roman Logov

I wonder how easily innovation comes to those with more rigid constraints. When your materials are expensive and products take physical labor to produce. When your employees have labor unions or not well incentivized. When hard sciences or engineering ground your business, departure from traditional process is discouraged. These are different worlds than that of pure software.

It’s not to say that new ideas are easier to come by in one world over another. But I think they might need more courage to bring to life.

Constraints provide focus. They allow organizations to identify opportunities for innovation quicker. Even still they have less mobility to seize them. Software based businesses have greater mobility, but the challenge of charting a course in an ocean of endless possibilities.

Both perspectives can inform each other. Modern innovation will benefit from the cross pollination of alternate worlds.

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Originally published at Adam Monago.