Remember “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” and the feelings you had when you saw the movie? It was the first movie to combine live actors and animated characters together (in the same frames). That “Vow!” feeling is what innovations can inspire. Think of the times you’ve felt this and on each occasion there will be something innovative you’ve experienced.
Blackberry (from Research In Motion) delivers email wherever you are in the US. It uses the paging network to “push” and synchronise email with the corporate mail server (Exhcange or Notes). It only does email and has a small keyboard to be able to “thumb-type” quick replies. Blackberry is achieving cult status among people on the move in the US, and is seen as a harbinger of the new breed of “live” wireless data devices.
Seen some of the new technology in Cricket coverage on TV? The LBW decisions are always contentious. One of the recent innovations has been to use the various cameras to project the trajectory of the ball and see if it would have hit the stumps or not. Another innovation has been the “snick-o-meter”, which uses microphones and sound processing to show the exact moment the “noise” is made as the ball passes the batsman.
An interesting innovation coming our way is Satellite Radio. World Space has just launched a radio which ensures that you can hear your favourite radio station (provided its in the list carried by World Space) anywhere in the world with FM-like quality.
Innovation comes in many ways. Writes Rekha Balu in “Fast Company”(June 2001): “Hindustan Lever (HLL) recognizes that meeting the demand of poor consumers isn’t just about lowering prices. It’s about creativity: developing products and processes that do more with less. HLL creates markets where most companies see only problems. Its growth in rural India is a case study in strategic reinvention. HLL changed the way it sold its products, who sold its products and how it develops its products for the rural markets.”
Innovation also opens up new vistas for others. The mapping of the Human Genome has created a new world of opportunities in genomics and proteomics. The growing popularity of cellphones (especially SMS) needs new applications which leverage, among other things, the location of where the user is. The buildout of 802.11b wireless networks (as a possible alternative to the incredibly expensive 3G) along with the advances in optics and availability of cheaper bandwidth are the foundations of the next wave of innovation on the Internet.
Examples of Innovations abound. The thing to remember is that however challenging be the times, innovation must be encouraged and fostered. It is the window to the future. Not all innovations may work or catch the imagination of people, but each innovation has its place in pushing the envelope on what is “state-of-the-art”.