Innovation conundrum

A look at the various notable innovations from early 1800 to present day throws up an interesting observation. From the light bulb to the microprocessors to the current era of fullerenes and what not. The scale of complexity has risen to monstrous proportions. Hence as a result a common man (by implication me) cannot make sense out of a new innovation coming out. Today's innovations are built up (to a certain extent) on yesterday's achievements. However the social reach of a electric bulb was larger than the microprocessor and the least being the current baskets of innovations of fullerenes etc.

Here the social reach implies the demography that the innovation seeks out and affects in whatever sense one can contrive up. Today innovations are something that closely follow the alienation path lead by technology. All that pervasive technology creates is its own network of geeks who are comfortable in the tenterhooks of it.

If I had to become a successful innovator (or just try doing it) the magnitude of knowledge that I have to climb is huge. This is so because once reaching the summit I might find my eureka. Therefore a single innovator is deprecated. Group innovations are in. Why so ?
Team innovation offers the baskets of knowledge (that dissect the mountain of knowledge in to small marketable pieces) that can integrated to build up a larger "eureka". Organizations will spearhead the innovation path in the next century to come. (If you notice nobels are no longer single man efforts, atleast in major cases) Human capacity to learn will need to narrowed to be suitable for an innovator.

Other implication one cannot be a know it all. The process of knowing something will itself lend itself to the entire lifetime of an individual. Poly-math, Jack of all trades once searched will yield deprecation only. Furthermore as an aid to innovation, technology will further islands of specialisation. Islands that will have to harnessed in the form of a network, in a decentralised form will be the mantra. As I believe the islands will burgeon and only organizations will have the disposition or ability to architect such networks.

Picture this
YEAR 2055
Kid 1 (5th grader) -- Did you understand that quantum influence in the way the world rotates ?
Kid 2 (a bemused friend) -- Had that S-chro-din-jer (not being able articulate clearly) bloke not said something about unpredictability I would be better off today.

Atleast my kid would not go to schoool. If S/He has to then probably they must know alphabets before they are born or possess a 5% extra stuff in their top floor.


I said...

why dont u write regularly fatso

Max Babi said...

hi shriram, nicely written though a few glitches mar the effect. Bad luck for me to have run smack into your post dealing with fullerenes an nanomaterials, I happen to be one of those innovators working in teams, or without one. I nearly disagree with every point you have so eloquently put down here, and for familiar reasons. Too narrow space here to discuss all that. Keep writing... I will comment.

parwana said...

I think this is the last best (might seem to you offending) post of yours.

You have really given a good amount of thought to it baby.

other thing i liked is your consistent use of french, at least whatever you know.

Anxious to see some more such insights in the future.