Sunday, July 24, 2011

Is innovation becoming a spectator sport?

A few years ago, in the world of technology, innovation was what happened in small teams away from prying eyes.

No one was breathing down Larry's and Sergey's neck to invent Google.
There was no pressure on Mark Zuckerberg to invent Facebook.

But today the amount of curiosity that people have, about the next move these companies will execute makes one wonder whether innovation has become a spectator sport.

Currently, the war between Google and Facebook or the war between Nokia and Android is eagerly watched by millions of people. Analysts, users, other companies and the world at large wait with bated breath to see what technological and strategic moves these companies will make when there are billions of dollars at stake.

Innovation in the technology sphere is not restricted to the proverbial garage anymore.

It has become a spectator sport with fans taking sides just like any other sport.

In the larger context, innovation as a spectator sport is an inevitable milestone in human evolution.

Thousands of years ago, man watched other men fight against lions and
be devoured by them in the amphitheater. As our race evolved and we became more human(e), people watched men and women fight it out with each other in the tennis court and soccer stadium. As we live in the era where knowledge is becoming the most important skill, it is only fitting that men will watch the clash of the minds like it were an exciting sport. It is only fitting that they will take sides and cheer their favorite companies.

And I think it is little more than a coincidence that we are able to watch this sport without ever stepping into a amphitheater or a stadium.

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