Structuring Innovation In a Disruptive Ecosystem

In an era of tech innovations that are driving markets, creating new ones and pushing the boundaries past what was considered possible, how do we make sure that we’re innovating the right products and platforms. Moreover, how do we create frameworks and supporting processes to ensure continuous innovation, and constant improvement of these products and platforms.

The right questions lead to the right innovations

Sometimes, innovation is usually ascribed to a Eureka moment, which is mistakenly understood as a moment when a brilliant idea suddenly presents itself to you. But let’s stop for minute and figure out what Eureka really means. This concept of a ‘Eureka’ moment is ascribed to the story of the Greek Scientist Archimedes. Archimedes had been working on a problem that had been given to him the King, which was to find out how much Gold was really in his crown. He was so deep in thought, that when he went to take a bath, upon sliding into the bathtub, a large amount of water was displaced because the bathtub was already full to the brim. The answer to the problem hit Archimedes like a freight train.

The takeaway here is that Archimedes was looking for the answer to a question. The word greek word ‘Eureka’ itself translates to ‘I’ve found it.’ Point being, you can only find something when you look for it. Are we asking the right questions of the industry? In order to innovate a product or platform that creates value, we need to be asking the right questions. Everyone is talking about disruption, which is a good thing, but somehow the word implies that disruptive technologies are sudden, and come without warning.

Innovation is a process, not an event

Innovation cannot be a an event, but has to be a process, if we want to create an atmosphere of constant improvement. The process begins, of course, with asking the right questions, identifying the need that exists in a market, and then developing an idea that is an answer to that problem. That’s just the beginning of the process, though. What comes next is the long drawn step of engineering the idea in the best possible way.

Contrary to popular belief, the incandescent light bulb was not invented by Thomas Edison. In facet, historians claim that there were about twenty other innovators that had been working on creating a light bulb. Edison happened to create the perfect design after not only learning from their mistakes, but after going through many designs himself. One of the most famous Edison quotes reads ‘I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work’.  Engineering a platform that has value takes time and multiple iterations.

Innovation without diversity results in monochrome ideas

When there’s only one demographic or group of people working on a project, there are a lot of aspects that get missed out on. A product or idea needs to be looked at from different perspectives, because what one person misses, the other might catch. It’s even more important that there’s diversity in a team working on a single product. Team members should ideally have different skill sets they bring to the table, so that the product or project is well – developed and well – executed.

A team that does not have diversity compromises on the uniqueness and potential of their product. The lack of an interdisciplinary approach to innovation is almost like a monochrome rainbow.

Innovative ideas and product need supporting innovation

Further, Innovative ideas cannot usually be executed on their own. They require supporting technology, platforms, talent and partners to be executed successfully. Moreover, innovative products that create a disruption in any industry require new business models to function. You can’t put new wine into an old wineskin – essentially, trying to execute new products with an old business model will only diminish the potential that product has. You definitely don’t want to cripple yourself while trying to compete in the innovation race.

Innovation is disruptive, and that’s good. But innovation can, and should be structured.
Panaesha Capital is a Singapore based Fintech firm and has multiple products spanning the blockchain, cryptocurrency and investment industry. Learn more about Panaesha Capital at www.panaeshacapital.com.

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