Solving Problems: Innovation Upon -or- Innovation In Spite Of

There is always something, personally, compelling when 2 discrete blog entries touch on a similar topic…This happened, again, today.

The first post is entitled Integration is Only the Beginning: Messages from the Edge and was penned by a colleague, Peter Osberg, at PaymentsAPI.com. The second is entitled Innovating Around Restrictions – PlayOn Story by Krishnan Subramanian at the Diversity Limited blog.

I highly encourage you to read each post in its entirety. But, for the purpose of this blog, let us begin with a representative quote from each:

The lack of an efficient, standardized process that meets the need of Software Companies is stifling innovation in payments. Payment companies must recognize that targeting Software Companies is much more than providing APIs – you must support the entire commercialization process. – Peter Osberg

In my opinion, as long as the dominant market leader doesn’t use their monopoly position to kill innovation, every such restriction (note: referring to broadband caps) put forward by proprietary companies are opportunities for others. Many open source companies and projects use these opportunities to innovate against such restrictions but it is not necessarily restricted to them. – Krishnan Subramanian

It is clear that each of these posts is in reference to different “problem sets”…different challenges faced in different markets.

And yet, there is a core of similarity.

I know of many firms that ask themselves the question, “Are we enabling innovation?”

I would argue the answer is…always…Yes.

You are either simplifying the experience for Software Companies, addressing their needs, and thereby enabling “innovation upon.” Or, your policies are such that tangible business problems are not being addressed, or are greatly complicated, by your technology…in which case you are enabling “innovation around” or “innovation in spite of”.

Software Companies will innovate.

I am, by no means, encouraging you adopt unnatural, potentially dangerous technologic implementations or business practices. However, I am encouraging that you take pause and determine whether you are taking steps to fostering innovation and gaining the market share that comes with it.

Software Companies will innovate. Software Companies are innovating.

Will your technology enable that innovation directly? Or will your technology force innovation around?

Ultimately, the decision is yours.

August 4, 2010

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