Innovation is the application of existing technology in new ways. In contrast, invention is the creation of new technology. While innovation is a constant in web development, we’ve seen a good deal of invention in the past decades. Here’s how you can put each one of these to work in your next web development project.
By nature, innovation is incremental, interdisciplinary and healthy to the bottom line. It takes a village to raise a child and a deeply knowledgeable and diligent team to bring valuable innovations to life. Consider innovating to create new corporate advantage, cost costs and streamline operations. The app revolution, responsive website development and website localization are largely innovative endeavors. While you are not creating new technology per se, you are offering new solutions to a market that was previously lacking.
Ponder the special case of technological innovation. Translating products to bring them into new markets, creating new features and packaging old software for consumption in smartphones, for example. Such innovation is relatively cheap and can provide broad differentiation to your practice.
Choosing to innovate has its drawbacks also. It’s more expensive than the status quo, there are no guarantees of success and considerable corporate frictions routinely arise. A common byproduct of being too innovative is releasing bloated software, delayed projects and websites productions that are an order of magnitude over budget. The key is to be judiciously innovative and watch your resources at all times.
If you’re developing for a startup or businesses opening new product lines, don’t discard invention. Inventions are hard to come by and are usually created by seasoned professionals. To name a few we can think of Amazon’s “one click purchase”, Apple’s iTunes platform or Google’s search algorithm. By nature, invention is scarce, trans-formative, hard and expensive. Sadly there’s very little invention in traditional web development.