Thursday, September 4, 2008

Make most of what you have got

We haven't discussed about innovation for quite sometime. Today lets talk about dealing in innovation with limited resources. This is the case quite often too. We feel the spark of great ideas but then we let it go due to a seeming resource crunch. Seldom its money. Mostly its time that we say we don't have. But I am not going to talk about time management. That's one topic beaten to death. So lets focus on the other important issues.

So the crunch you would generally feel, other than time, will be either be money or technical know how. The money is not so important. We will come back to it later. The technical skill is a much bigger hurdle than generally anticipated. And later you discover it, the more it hurts. Because it completely blocks you. No amount of time or money will then help.

Now obvious thing to say would be to update your skills and keep learning and blah blah blah. I prefer different approach.

Just in Time learning

Basically, you don't learn something, until you know you will need it soon. It doesn't mean you wait till the very moment you need it, then block the work and start learning. Its Just in time. Just when you anticipate its the right time to update or acquire certain skills. No bullet lines Use common sense. Evaluate you learning speed, available time, etc and figure it out.

This way you can mitigate the risk of technical know how to a certain extent. But some time the JIT learning will tell you that the time required is not feasible or perhaps, the technicalities are way too complicated for you. In such case, I suggest you extend your team. Or build one, if one is not there already. Its better to collaborate with subject matter experts, rather than trying to learn and become one. But to ensure control over things, I suggest you acquire basic knowledge, even if you are taking services/help of an expert.

Now about the money. Well that's where the real test of innovation is. Before you start looking for innovative ways of raising funds. Spend some time over what resources you have at hand. What can be borrowed feasibly. Brainstorm over ways you can implement your idea with whatever you have got. You will find mostly you can use inexpensive ways to simulate the actual implementation. This would help you gathering funds because you will have a working proof of concept.

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