Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Innovation, Creativity, Software and Success

It is amazing just how many software companies are "creative" and "innovative". In addition, by reading CV's and online profiles, it is amazing just how many people are also "creative" and "innovative".

At this point, let's loosely define our three terms "Innovate", "Creativity" and "Success":

  • Innovate - Provide a new solution to problem that is distinctly different from existing approaches
  • Creativity - The desire, ability and resourcefulness to create 'something'.
  • Success - The measure by which an individual or organization can be said to have achieved its objectives.
So it might seem reasonable to expect that the world is full of innovative, creative companies that are full to the brim of innovative and creative people. And that all of these innovative and creative companies are creating innovative new stuff....

Thus it stands to reason that the majority of these companies are NOT successful, because most new 'stuff' is created by the same relatively small number of companies.

In most cases, not being a creative and innovative company is perfectly fine. For example, a restaurant does not have to be particularly creative or innovative to make a profit (although I am not saying it may not help).

However, if you are a software company and you are not genuinely creative or innovative I would bet that you are probably not successful either. Even the big mega-corporations like Apple, IBM, Oracle, Microsoft, Facebook and SAP were at some point in their history creative and innovative and to varying degrees continue to be so.

So if these mega-corporations still continue to be innovative and creative, then your small software company DEFINITELY has to be.

But most software companies are neither innovative nor creative. And I wonder if this is because most people are not actually innovative or creative, despite what they say.

Companies do need different types of people, but software companies do need a genuine element of creativity and innovation which, if not always, mostly takes precedence over the best practices, rules of thumbs, processes and procedures that 'most' people would govern by.

So find genuinely innovative and creative people and let them do their thing...