Why No Innovation Is a Small Innovation

Innovation is the new slap: You want to throw it on faces. Names become brands overnight, and ordinary people walk red carpets in no time if one simple idea makes the sharp, coveted cut. But what exactly makes an innovation an innovation? Does it have to be groundbreaking like the Wright Brothers’, or something as simple as the frisbee? I write.

A few months earlier we discovered we needed a new piece of technology which could record the inflow and outflow of energy from the panel to our SOLboxes. The need was simple but quiet crucial when it came to determining demographical choices and reading consumer minds. At first we scrambled, then we put together, and finally deployed a piece called the “SOLlogger,” which is an electronic device that automatically monitors and records electric parameters (current & voltage) over time. People may think when it comes to innovation, it should be something grand, fanfares should be blaring in the background and related news should be making the headlines, but Sonam Wangchuk, on his visit to SOLshare, had something very countertuitive to say. He mentioned that in Ladakh, where it’s only normal to live in -20 celsius, the winters are only crippling at the least but as it turns out people tend to spend the busiest and rather most engaging days during then. Monasteries and temples arrange different festivities throughout the winter to keep people engaged; grandmothers narrate special stories and tales  and would not continue them a moment further from the day they’d see the first trace of a green leaf, which, if otherwise done, would be considered a sin.
“Do you see the design of the forefathers here?” said Sonam, “The strategy with which the seasonal activitivies were designed is no less than an innovation.”

This presents a strong idea: Innovation perhaps never meant making mindblowing inventions, but making small additions, improvements or improvisations which could make mindblowing differences. Because the moment we installed SOLlogger, we had data cascading into our backend system.

So next time you see people making a fuss about ideas not being big enough, ask them to if they use Post-It notes.