Innovation: Just do it!

By Glenn G. Campos

I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.

Leonardo Da Vinci

The new and refocused corporate values, I-CARE, starts with I, which stands for Innovation.  The enhanced definition of Innovation in our company culture is continuously exploring new ways to improve and reinvent existing structures to deliver fresh and updated products and services, all the time, to the customer.  Innovation is a value that we want all employees to exhibit.  It is a continuing reminder of how God wants us to use man’s intellectual gift that He gave when He created the first man and woman on earth. 

Man was given the ability to design things and then to make them, to appreciate beauty, to compose glorious music, to paint pictures, to write, to count to large numbers and to do mathematics, to control and use energy for his own benefit (e.g. fire, electricity, nuclear power), to organize, to reason, to make decisions, to be self-conscious, to laugh at himself, and to think abstractly.  All these behaviors are non-instinctive, distinct from animal behavior, and as such, they are of unlimited variety.  

But what is innovation in business?

According to the Oslo Report, which provides guidelines for collecting and interpreting data on innovation, business innovation is:
” (…) a new or improved product or business process (or a combination thereof) that differs significantly from the firm’s previous products or business processes and that has been introduced on the market or brought into use by the firm.” 

Innovation began taking root as a term associated with science and industry in the 19th century, matching the forward march of the Industrial Revolution, although the language of that period focused more strongly on invention, particularly technical invention. 

I would simply describe Innovation as “an inevitable part of our daily lives”. Innovation can play many roles like the way we choose our clothes for the day, the style we put our make-up on, the way we manage our time, the manner we buy our food and groceries, and many more. That is why innovation surrounds us every day.  Their growth is closely related to the size of social networks and to the easy transmission of all information. 

The Internet has become an inseparable part of our lives. Many scientists are already using the third phase of the web or Web 3.0, the third generation intelligent or Semantic Web.  Semantic means the power of recognizing, understanding, perceiving, and then accordingly responding.  Web 3.0 is based on Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning where semantics play an integral role as it defines the interactive level. A common example of a Web 3.0 application is how users interact with businesses where companies can provide 24/7 support through AI-based chatbots. 

Have you ever wondered where it all began?  How was the software born and how was this whole digital revolution come about?  The existence of the internet and today’s innovation such as web applications would not have been possible without the birth of software and the first computers. 

My first computer when I was in high school was Commodore 64 (C64), an 8-bit home computer, with 64Kbyte RAM memory, running at KERNEL OS.  It was introduced in the ’80s.  Its processor was running at 1 MHz.  Low-level machine languages used were BASIC, COBOL, FORTRAN, and the first internet browser used was called Hyperlink. Remember those?   Because of innovation, new computers and software were developed. 

Nowadays, the popular OS you would hear about are Windows, MacOS, Unix, Linux, and mobile OS such as Google Android and Apple iOS.   8GB RAM memories are common.  Imagine, four decades ago, processors only needed 64Kbyte of memory, and now it has gone more than 125,000 times higher.  Also, processors now run at 4GHz, which is 4000 times faster.  New user requirements played a big role; hence, innovation came again into play. 

I remember in July 1990 during the aftermath of the killer earthquake that hit Baguio City and most parts of Luzon.  We were all lined up at the PLDT’s Piltel office at upper Session Road to establish communications with our loved ones away from Baguio to inform them about our situation. To everybody’s surprise, Piltel offered the free use of their first cellular mobile phone subscriber terminal which was a wireless telephone that runs on analog technology.  The phone was heavy, weighing one kilogram.  The Motorola DynaTac was a classic one. I saw a bag of battery packs to ensure the continuous operation of the mobile phone.  When you go around, you needed to carry that bag, too.   

In 1991, Piltel launched the Philippines’ first mobile phone product, MOBILINE.  Globe, Islacom, and Smart launched their GSM-based cellular products in 1994.  Innovations on mobile phones went into a craze.  Motorola MicroTac became the smallest and lightest phone at that time.  Then Nokia came into the picture.  Nokia 1011, Nokia 9110i, Nokia 3310, Nokia 7650 were sold like hot cake.  Samsung, Apple, BlackBerry, LG, HTC, Sony Ericsson, Huawei, Alcatel, OPPO, and Vivo now share their success innovation stories. 

My first touch screen mobile phone in 2008 was Samsung OMNIA i900 or OMNIA I.  The screen was only four inches.  Windows 6.1 OS. GSM, 128MB RAM, 16GB storage, 5 megapixels camera, 624MHz Marvel. Now, popular Samsung mobile phone would have 8GB memory, 512GB storage, 6.4 inches screen, Android 8.1 OS, 12 megapixels camera, 6GB RAM, 2.8GHz Snapdragon 845.  Depending on user requirements, mobile phones can go as small as two inches. Yes, I have my 2-inch, thumb-sized, L8Star mini mobile phone.  You can think of countless reasons why mobile phone manufacturers continue to innovate.  

As Leonardo Da Vinci was quoted saying “I have been impressed with the urgency of doing.  Knowing is not enough; we must apply.  Being willing is not enough; we must do.” 

The Mona Lisa and The Last Supper were among the most famous works of Leonardo Da Vinci during the 14th Century Renaissance.  Leonardo Da Vinci was not only one of the greatest painters, but he was also a technology genius.  He conceptualized flying machines, concentrated solar power, and adding machines, among many others.  He was also credited with the inventions of the parachute, helicopter, and tank.  And now we can truly imagine that as early as 600 years ago, innovation was at its accelerated pace and in a never-ending stage, the eagerness to try and try and execute until new requirements are addressed.  The same situation surrounds us now.   

NLEX and MPTC colleagues, let us not stop. Let us not stoop down. It is good that we know we need to innovate, it is better that we are willing to innovate, but knowing it and being willing to do it is both, and together not enough, it is best to get things done!  Maybe NIKE’s slogan was inspired by Da Vinci, so JUST DO IT

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