Week 12: Is it really innovation?

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What exactly is innovation? If I did not go look up its meaning, my best answer would be “making something new.”

Well let’s see what Merriam-Webster says about it:

1. The introduction of something new

2. A new idea, method, or device

I think I was pretty close! At least I had managed to get the keyword “new”~ 😀

Merriam-Webster continues to elaborate on this definition in its editor’s note: “Innovation … can refer to something new or to a change made to an existing product, idea, or field.” Wait, what? So what exactly does innovation mean in practical terms then?

Based on a careful analysis of 15 experts’ definition of ‘innovation,’ the ultimate definition was then created:

(Source)

It’s a whole lot different from just having something new. Innovation actually involves the entire process—from from having an idea to actually executing it, so that it adds value for both the customer and the company. Because really, if the definition of innovation is to be limited to only being new, the future of innovation is nowhere to be seen in the technological industry where one company’s product is merely a variant of another company’s product.

This means war.

1. App: Snapchat VS Facebook

I guess everyone knows what Snapchat is right? Well basically, the people who came up with it were pretty innovative, and they changed how we think of social media and how we can express ourselves.

However, if you’re on other social media platforms, you would know that something else looks way too familiar for it to be just a coincidence. That’s right, Facebook and its various apps are slowly adopting the same features that were once unique to Snapchat. Take a look:

(Source)

But why?

I suppose Facebook saw how Snapchat’s innovation has value-adding potential to its current products which could benefit the company and its customers.

tech snapchat

Note the features similar to Snapchat that Facebook is coming up with! (Source)

For me, I use Instagram more than I do with Snapchat, so when I saw the new ‘Stories’ feature on Instagram, I got pretty confused because it really looked so much like Snapchat! If I were to choose between the two, I would still go with Instagram’s ‘Stories’ even though it’s the copycat version because I’m already so comfortable with Instagram and I don’t want to juggle with so many social media platforms. So you can see how Facebook has decided to add this new feature in order to give value to its customers (i.e. I want to use Snapchat’s features, but I don’t want to use it on Snapchat because it’s gonna be a hassle, so it’s great that something that I’m already using has that same features!).

Personally, I wouldn’t say that Facebook’s new features are a form of innovation, but based on that ultimate definition, it would be since it checks off all the requirements.

2. Productivity Suite: Microsoft VS Google

Now, this is really a war between the 2 big tech giants.

In the past, we only had Microsoft Office (Microsoft Word, Microsoft Powerpoint, and Microsoft Excel) to help us with the work that we need to do. However, one drawback is that it can only be worked on that specific file, which means that collaboration is hard. I remember we used to have to send each other e-mails of our parts or use a thumbdrive to pass it around just so that we can edit the work together.

But now, we don’t have to do that anymore because we have Google Suite (Google Docs, Google Slides, and Google Sheets). Do you notice how sneaky the names that Google uses are? Usually we would say “Word DOCument,” “Powerpoint SLIDES,” and “Excel SHEETS.” It’s like as if Google wants to make it seem that their products are the same as Microsoft’s, but only better!

I would say that Google’s take on its productivity suite is pretty innovative because it has changed the way we collaborate with others, which is a huge need today given, and so, it overcomes the challenge of difficult collaboration work and also provides us with great value because we can be more efficient!

However, despite its benefits, I feel that Google is still not as powerful as Microsoft in terms of its features. Based on the comparisons of both Microsoft and Google suites on an android tablet, you can see how Google pales in comparison to Microsoft (in terms of features).

word vs docs

excel vs sheets
(Source)

You can tell that Google uses a more minimalist approach. However, I feel that Google still shouldn’t compromise on providing us powerful features that could help us to be even more efficient. I find it frustrating at times when I can’t do certain things on Google’s suite when I normally can do them with ease on Microsoft.

But looking at how Google has made collaboration so much easier, I would say that that component is an innovation on Google’s part.

So, as you can see from the above 2 examples, one does not exactly need to come up with something totally brand new to be innovative (that would be more like an invention rather than an innovation instead).

Knowing all this, I think it may actually be possible for all of us to be innovators in the future (as long as we are able to carry out our value-adding ideas)!

Sources:

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