By Shirish Patwardhan on 15 August 2009
Shirish Patwardhan, CTO, Chief Architect & one of the co-founders of KPIT Cummins is always looking at newer, more effective ways of using technology. In this post he talks about some ideas that foster creativity, new idea generation and innovation.
I recently read “The Medici Effect" which talks about how ideas are generated at the ‘intersection’ of various domains’ or as I call it, the “interface”.
The author speaks about the Renaissance in Europe and what led to many architects, painters, musicians, poets, playwrights etc. who flourished in this period. Not only were there a large number of such intellectuals and artists; many times these people were polymaths like Leonardo da Vinci – a painter, mathematician, scientist, sculptor and more! The author says that all this creativity and innovation is to be found at the intersections or interfaces of different faculties. Thus one has to go out of one’s domain to foster new ideas.
Another thing that struck me, mainly because it contradicts my earlier conviction was ‘quantity breeds quality’. It takes a hundred ordinary songs to create one memorable one. Many times we have only one or two ideas and we imagine they will succeed; while the way to quality is to breed quantity.
Thinking about this I found examples of new ideas and learning happening at these interfaces, here at KPIT. Starting from an accountancy firm we have gone into the IT services space and subsequently the engineering space – three very different areas! I see this happening even when people change career paths very successfully to entirely different domains by carrying across the learning from one into the other.
The question for us is how do we actively get our people to seek these boundaries thus fostering creativity and innovation? I believe that ideas will only come when we are talking to our customers because for us as a company, that’s where the interface or boundary is. They will also come when we are talking to suppliers, competition, in short only when we interact with all these external entities.
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