Innovations need to be Beautiful – Kay

Says Alan Kay in an interview:

I think the first measure of innovation is whether it’s beautiful or not. You look at music–all the different styles and approaches that have been considered beautiful. Some are cultural and some are more universally accepted. But it’s the learning that goes on–educating people on how to appreciate something as beautiful. It’s complex and the metrics vary.

Take mathematics–this discipline has been around for a long time. Most mathematicians now agree on the kinds of things considered to be beautiful in
mathematics. And since science is expressed in mathematics, one of the things you’re trying to come up with in a scientific theory is whether the math that expresses this idea is beautiful in itself or whether or not it has anything to do with the physical world.

Kay also talks about Bell Labs’ mission, which was written up on the wall: “Either Do Something Very Beautiful or Very Useful.”

I’d like to think of what we are trying to do in Emergic as innovative. Ideas like the Thin Client-Thick Server and Digital Dashboard have to have a certain beauty, a certain poetry about that. One has 10-15 minutes to explain it to others. In those few minutes, we have to paint a breath-taking landscape in front of the other person. (In much the way as Bhansali has done in Devdas.)

There has to be simplicity and elegance in the ideas, and yet they have to be profound. The vision has to be awesome and achievable. The journey may be long, but the road needs to be visible.

Published by

Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.