Friday, February 06, 2009

Just Watch It

Here is a link to Andy Hargadon's talk "Carpe Creen'em" on Tuesday evening. If you missed it, you should take a look.

Andy made 4 points, distilled from his study of how innovation really happens:

1. It's not about the mousetrap.
2. Innovation is about connecting, not inventing.
3. The network is the innovation.
4. "The future is already here, it's just unevenly distributed." (quote from scifi writer William Gibson)

While his examples were not from the BOP, his application of social network theory to entrepreneurship is important. As I listened, examples of both failures and successes in the developing world came to mind. To date, we have more "Segways" than "electricity systems." Too many examples of inventions that required a systemic change to be succesful, instead of aligning and imbedding within the current systems.

While Andy didn't use the word "hack," perhaps he should have. Because his strategy of connecting innovations to networks, and changing them from within, is really a hacker's strategy. If you believe the current system is unsustainable, are you going to wait for the revolution to overturn it, or start hacking? I know what I'm doing. And this talk helped me think about how to do it better.

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