Get the Powers to Act from Fresh Ideas

January 3, 2013

Digital Product Innovation,Academia,Grounded Innovation

Many people agree that Gorbachev as a professor can be cool but Gorbachev as a politician is disastrous.

Suppose I am a political science prof. I can invent a voting system such that
  1. age 5-10        1/2 vote per person
  2. age 11-20      1 vote per person
  3. age 21-30      2 vote per person
  4. age 31-40      3 vote per person
  5. age 41-50      4 vote per person
  6. age 51-above 1/2 vote per person
Yes, it's silly and impractical. But it will work in any classroom and in any academic journal. At least, it's "controversial," "radical," "innovative," "thought-provoking" etc.

Now, here comes a book on digital product innovation, Grounded Innovation Strategies for Creating Digital Products and the companion blog.

On Page 10, there are five properties that will be useful to explain digital products:
  1. Information Processing: computation e.g very early mainframes
  2. Interaction e.g. sketchpad, word processor
  3. Networking e.g. Internet PC/laptop
  4. Sensing e.g. Adidas, Nike
  5. Proactivity : Machine deciding for itself e.g. Smart phone
First of all are these properties to distinguish digital products from non-digital ones, or to distinguish one digital product from other digital products?

e.g. My pencil doesn't have "Information Processing" capacity, but my PC does. But my door knobs and door buttons do interact with us.

Then, if all digital products have " Information Processing" power, why include it in the list?

Then, "Proactivity"? A Tumbling Kelly toy always returns to its original position. Is it deciding this for itself? Doesn't any PC/laptop, smart phone, digital product decide for themselves to a degree?

We can keep on asking. But that's enough. We are not doing an academic exercise here.

We will discuss later another book on digital products, Inventing The Medium. An MIT book, but no better.

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