Wooo…its hard coming up after all those awesome talks but I’ll give it a shot. Be gentle you guysSo my name is Arpit Mathur and I have been if Comcast for about 6 years now. These days I work at Comcast Innovation Labs which btw looks exactly like that picture in the background. We look at and prototype new technologies and services that Comcast can integrate or offer to our customers.Not many people know this though but I used to be an comics and graphics illustrator a long time back. I haven’t done a lot of that of late except the occasional doodle. But I really should get back to that.
When Mindy came up to me a couple of months back and asked me to speak here, I wasn’t really sure what I’d talk about. So I decided to join two of my favorite topics. One is innovation of course which is fascinating to read about. And the other is Comics. I guess most of the talk is going to be on some thoughts I have on innovation with some background comic story as an example. Hopefully you leave here with some interest in both domains.
Before we get into that though some definitions are in order. So what exactly is innovation. There are a LOT of definitions to Innovation in different books and such but this one is pretty close to my definition of it. “…” In this talk I decided to focus of the latter part of the sentence. On new ideas and some of my thoughts around that. So here are my 5 points on innovation with references from some of the famous comics
My first point is around Constraints and limits. Far from limiting innovation constraints often supercharge it. They kill scope creep and force you to be imaginative. This is a screenshot from a pretty popular recent hollywood version of a famous Comic book. This is from Iron man and the scene is when Tony Stark uses parts the terrorists provide him to make a missle to make a “beta” version of the iron man suit.
Twitter is almost the perfect example for constraints based innovation. The 140 character limit forced users to come up with creative ways to enhance communication. Retweets, hashtagsetc all came out of user behavior dealing with the 140 char limit. It has now reached a point that removing the limit feels like killing a part of Twitter.
Another example here. This is like the ultimate hack for a vehicle right? I guess in the web 2.0 parlance this would be a mashup
In fact constraints are now part of standard business terminology. There is an Indian term called Jugaad which defines this and is now taught as an example of how to get things done
I also wanted to talk about sacred cows. As you throw ideas around to grow or innovate, you can’t really afford to have sacred cows. You must be willing to change.This scene is from a comic book called Silver surfer. The story is …
To really succeed, a lot of companies have changed drastically over time to changing situations.
Sacred cows are more than just technology and business models. We often have to fundamentally redefine our understanding of the world.Who here has heard of this thing.Red vs. Blue is a made for the web series that you can find on Youtube. Its made using game models from the Halo game with voice overlays and is pretty hilarious. But is it something we would call a show?
Here are some rather impressive metrics. My point here is, a lot of us may not call RVB a show but to a new generation of ppl that’s what it is.
My third point is around Errors and Serendipity. I could have chosen from a variety of characters here since the “accidentally gets radiated” beginning is a very common origin story in comics.So the fantastic 4 origin goes like this: “”. I guess this slide could also have been around the importance of QA in a group ;)
Networks can be physical or virtual
A comic enthusiast’s thoughts on ideas and innovation Arpit Mathur Comcast Innovation Labs
Lead Software Engineer at Comcast Innovation Labs Former comic books illustrator
Jugaad There is an entirely new type of innovation thinking called "constraint-based innovation" - innovation that relies more on ingenuity in product, process and people to solve a customer's problem by creative improvisation rather than scientific and technological breakthroughs. In India, colloquially, we call this "jugaad" and it's now got a new name "frugal engineering."
The goal of a leader should be to maximize resistance-in the sense of encouraging disagreement and dissent. When an organization is in crisis…(lack of dissent) can mean that the change you are trying to create isn’t radical enough. Dov Frohman Founder of Intel Israel
…rogues and rebels… liberate us from conformity and, more importantly, they stimulate us to think more divergently and creatively. We consider more facts and more possibilities; we find and devise solutions. Rogues and Heroes: The value of dissent
“[Innovation] comes from saying no to 1,000 things to make sure we don't get on the wrong track or try to do too much. We're always thinking about new markets we could enter, but it's only by saying no that you can concentrate on the things that are really important.” -Steve Jobs