Sunday, November 21, 2004

Incremental Innovation

It seems as though a significant portion of innovation occurs at the margin - small changes that improve existing technologies or methods.

The prevalence of incremental innovation is not surprising - and it may even be advantageous in the market. Encouraging customers to adopt "disruptive" technologies is much more difficult than encouraging the adoption of something familiar - but better.

In many cases, this aversion toward the unknown can be quite discouraging for innovators, and can even hinder the use of vastly superior methods and technologies.

Check out Michael Schrage's interesting take on the topic of innovation and its adoption in MIT's Technology Review (sadly, this is Michael's last column for TR).

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Innovators make the world go round...

Why do I care so much about innovation?

Because it makes the world go round! In innovation, there is potential for a better tomorrow - cures for cancer, preservation of the environment, creation of communities, an endlessness of possibilities.

In my lifetime, I think that the most significant contribution I can make is to facilitate the task of bringing new ideas into the world.

Of course, I run the risk that there innovations that are detrimental to the human race will be commercialized with the support of the organizations that I support. I think ths particular difficulty that faces every innovator - both in the technological and social sphere (recall Einstein's contribution to the atom bomb). The gravity of such a possibility does not escape me.

Still - perhaps in a somewhat ideological fervor - I think that there is so much potential for good in innovation that I am driven to support this cause.
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