Innovation? But HOW !!!?

I have been studying about innovation lately and thought of sharing it with you all.

Continuous innovation is critical to most businesses. Innovation must be woven into the very fabric of our culture.

So how do we innovate? It is not like love at first sight. We cannot make our first idea as an innovation.

What leads to innovation?

  •  Idea
  • Resources
  • Time
  • Motivation
  • And NOTE… Ideas are not innovation!

“Are ideas innovations? Everyone has ideas.… For an idea or an innovation to a have a practical effect, they need to go beyond the discussion at the lunch table with your friends and become a reality.”

– Miguel de Icaza, founder of GNOME

Anyone can come up with an amazing idea but how you execute the idea will find out your success.

How can you get a good idea?

Coming up with an innovative idea will require some methods of generating ideas from brainstorming to mind mapping that can help invoke up useful ideas. During this process one must make sure to keep focused on a goal. If you have no goal, how will you know when you have reached the end line and are ready for improvement? Start out with a few thoughts and see what you can come up with.

In order to take an innovative idea, you need to have the willpower to push through few failures. The odds are against you no matter the idea and statistics say you are going to fail a few times on your road to success. Knowing this, you have to get around your bets more effectively so you can adjust your path and continue forward.

A successful Idea

Don’t put everything behind your first idea! You wouldn’t go to the racetrack. Even though we are taught that all innovations come from a visionary who predicted a need for the future, this is usually not the case. Naturally, most inventions come from need and others from creative spark. When executing a creative idea with the resources available, you will have to make adjustments along the way that may not have been accounted for initially. Frans Johansson (bestselling author) suggests that you take the smallest executable step (smallest bet) so you don’t risk everything on your original idea.

Once you define the smallest step, you know your scope of risk. This is very important because you can then take baby steps to overcome challenges and utilize resources more efficiently on your road to success. While strategy is paramount, one shouldn’t get lost in planning and take too long to execute. Stay motivated to move forward, because forward motion even through failure is the key to success.

 How you should do?

  •  Collect Ideas (or problems)
  •  Discuss with SMEs and validate it
  •  Propose
  •  Implement
  •  Reward

How they innovated?

Jack Dorsey’s Micro Communication

Jack Dorsey is an American software architect that had an interest in making “instant messenger” updates available for friends to see. This was a refined concept that eventually grew into what we now know as Twitter. Three guiding principles of this innovative idea are simplicity, constraint and craftsmanship.

Jack had an early fascination with cities and how they work, so he would always carry maps around with him. His attraction with mass-transit and how cities function led him to taking advantage of public transit databases in Manhattan. He built off of his original idea that gave meaning to his overall concept. His idea makes clear though working on dispatch software, programming real-time messaging systems for couriers, taxis, and emergency vehicles.

Jack Dorsey’s experience helped him see his idea in a completely new perspective. Taking his seedling of an idea that would update friends of his status, Dorsey completed several field tests before recognizing that the technology available didn’t support his innovative idea. There are times when putting off a project is irrefutable. Jack Dorsey originally came up with his idea in the year 2000 but wasn’t able to execute effectively until 8 years later. Jack was effective in not letting his idea sit for too long but instead taking action when technology would let it thrive

Finally I would like to conclude with….

Making ideas happen isn’t easy and requires patience, determination and hard work. The most important part of it is not just coming up with a promising concept, but rather rethinking it over and over again, implementing it and then putting it to practice.

Most innovations come from necessity, so pay attention to small problems in your environment and find simple solutions to these problems. Do not sit idle on the idea — act instead. Take opposing thoughts and resolve them in your innovative designs. And keep innovating all the time, one step at a time. The time will pass, and if you have some luck, you will see your idea growing, flourishing and maybe even turning into a real success.

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How Code 4 Cause was started?

When I was working in Cognizant, I had a chance to participant in a hackathon event conducted by Cognizant Outreach team (CSR of Cognizant). The primary objective of the event was to develop application for Outreach to make their life easier. We gathered around 50 people to develop 10 applications which can help Cognizant’s CSR to serve the schools better. I was one of a participant and we developed a high level reporting tool for Outreach.

From that event I learned many things

It is not easy to run a nonprofit without help of technology. Like anyother corporate companies, nonprofit organization also has many challenges in managing their resources, volunteers, IT filing, funds, reporting to donars etc. The complexity of a nonprofit is much higher than the corporates.

Also I found there are many people interested to develop free softwares for nonprofits. If we can gather 50 developers for one nonprofit. Can’t we get more developers to help rest of the nonprofits around the world?

When I came back to home, I was thinking how about other nonprofits? How other nonprofits run without technology? If they use technology, how much cost they are investing? I did some basic analysis and found they invest more than 25% of their funds for technology like developing websites, donation/financial management systems, computers etc.

I encouraged my colleagues to join with me to develop free softwares for nonprofit. There were around 6 people interested and we launched Code4Cause in two days.

I just expanded Cognizant Outreach’s Idea to the rest of the world. Now code4cause is very sucessful and I thank Cognizant Outreach team to ignite this idea in me.

After couple of months, while surfing the web I found we are not the only one, but there are many initiative similar to Code4Cause around the world. Like Code for America, Code for Charity, Code Jam, Code for India, Code 4 a Cause etc. there were many. I am happy that, Code4Cause is a first kind of initiative in India. 🙂