The need for a new approach to Innovation
in the service of humanity is widely recognized:
"At the heart of this shift in the global innovation agenda is a greater respect for cultural variety, regional diversity and democratic accountability."
Innovation - Islamic Innovation
Design for Values is a doorway to a better future.
It promotes an innovation in thought within Muslim consumers, academia, government, and the global business community. The objective is to generate new products that incorporate Muslim values by starting from the 'ideation' phase of product development. Design for Values success begins with its adoption by Muslims as a key requirement in new products. This will show the world that Muslims are no longer content to be passive consumers of goods and services that are unhealthy, unsustainable, or unsuitable. Success begins with an innovation in thought and continues with concrete action.
The field of Innovation studies rivals any complex subject for depth and diversity of views.
This website does not promote the idea that innovation can be summed up and delivered in a few pages. If it was that easy every country, state, town, and village would have it's own Silicon Valley. Innovation is an endless journey, it starts with your first step. Reading and thinking about how to incorporate your values into the design of new products can be your first step on a life-long journey.
Innovation is doing something new, new to you or new to the world.
Innovation is a term that is widely used, it's practical meaning often obscured and made to seem more daunting than necessary. Islamic Innovation is doing something new that supports peoples ability to live true to their Islamic beliefs and values. If you conceive, design and build a device to render all food Halal you are innovating. If you adopt new procedures at work you are innovating. If you start to bring your own bag when you buy food instead of using single use plastic you are innovating. Its a question of scale and impact. The following quote from Daniel H. Pinks book ‘To Sell is Human’ provides one test to determine if your actions conform to the principles of Islamic Innovation. “If the person you’re selling to agrees to buy, will his or her life improve? When your interaction is over, will the world be a better place than when you began?” This idea can be applied to any human to human (H2H) interaction and not just buying and selling.
Innovation is not Invention, in fact I am not sure that invention even exists as other than a convenient label for the latest development whose roots can be traced back through history. Write your own history and your innovation may be recorded for posterity as a wonderful invention!
Innovation is vital for established businesses to counter the downward pressure of commoditization and to better address an ever-changing business environment.
Innovation is strongly associated with heroic failure but it is a myth that Silicon Valley celebrates failure – it tolerates it in certain circumstances – punishes brutally in others, according to consulting firm Innosight, 75% of Venture Capital money spent in the US is never returned to investors, and failure is the norm. The the criteria for 'Successful Failure' is complex and not something to spend too much time pondering! What is worth pondering is do you have the necessary Eco-system to foster successful innovation?
The Muslim world has provided the innovation that underpins many of today's sciences. Design for Values is part of a broader effort to focus that culture of innovation to support a Global Islamic Economy.
'Failure' is an integral part of learning and innovation...I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."
"For me, the three best things about failure are admitting it, learning from it and finding opportunity in it."
Sheikh Hussein Al-Banawi
"The Unknown Leader: Discover the Leader in You".
Silicon Valley has over approximately 60 years grown a complex innovation-ecosystem critical to its long-term success.
Part of the Valley's success is undoubtedly due to its embrace of the best, brightest, hardest working people that the world has to offer. Any given startup can resemble a mini United Nations; Irish working with English, Iranian with Iraqi, Muslim with Jew, and Hindu, Buddhist, agnostic and 'nothingist' with Christian. Most startups also include a few bemused 'Americans' who somehow manage to acculturate everybody else to being 'Valley Guys' regardless of gender. It is a shared virtual culture unique to that startup and it is a component necessary for success. People are putting aside or at least compartmentalising old wounds and prejudices for the sake of an innovation goal. It is ironic to consider today's negative focus on migration side by side with the contribution immigrants have made to the success of Silicon Valley, sometimes directly and sometimes through their children.
Such innovation ecosystems must exist in any new ventures internal and external environment. Internally, freedom of thought, expression, tolerance of risk-taking and individual empowerment must exist. Internal company culture must be open to new ideas regardless of source and not harshly punish failure. Externally, tax structures, bankruptcy and company law all must align to encourage the taking of informed risk. Wider society is a huge component in creating an innovation ecosystem. The opinion, judgment, and degree of support from family, friends, and neighbours influences the degree of risk that an individual is willing to take in order to bring an innovation to life. Consider the hypothetical quote; "If I try this and fail will I be a pariah and I and my family lose social status or will I be regarded as brave and hard working and as someone to look up to?" Leadership and mentoring is also essential for innovation. Friends, internal and external, national and international, are vital for successful innovation.
Islamic Finance and Islamic Marketing are innovation. Islamic Finance through it's prohibition of riba and the design of compliant financial instruments, Islamic Marketing through its promotion of moderation, morality, modesty and sustainability in the marketing of products to Muslim consumers.
Design for Values establishes a principle to guide future innovations in these and other disciplines in order to make sure that innovation produces outcomes that are halal, tayyib, sustainable, and supportive of Islamic values.
Like any discipline, Innovation has it's own language and classifications. The classifications can be thought of as a measure of the seismic effect they will have on the market place or within an organisation.
Sustaining Innovation: Provides no great shock but is an improvement.
Evolutionary Innovation: Does not require the market or workforce to make any great adjustment and can be viewed as an anticipated change.
Revolutionary Innovation: Is unexpected but does not require a change of business practices.
Disruptive Innovation: Is a major shock to the market and requires a new way of doing business. Disruptive innovations are the most exciting, most likely to fail and if they succeed, they change the world. Disruptive innovation is the goal of Design for Values.
If you would like some light reading to help get into an innovative frame of mind I recommend the books listed below. They contain a wealth of information in an easy to understand manner. More titles will be added periodically with a review of the key concepts in the book.
‘The Art of the Start’ by Guy Kawasaki
'Crossing the Chasm’ by Geoffrey Moore
'The Innovators Dilemma' by Clayton M. Christensen
'Innovation and Entrepreneurship' by Peter Drucker
Kawasaki and Moore can be considered niche players in the field of innovation theory, their writing is extremely good at communicating important messages on how to increase your chances of innovation success. Peter Drucker (May he rest in peace) wrote on diverse areas of business management for over 70 years and is considered one of the most influential thinkers on modern business theory. Clayton Christensen is alive and well and continues to produce excellent books and articles with the ability to focus on both business success and consumer needs. He is an invaluable resource for any program relating to innovation and product design.
Oh to have an original thought! maybe someday, but not today.
People all over the world believe that Values should guide innovation.
We will be seeking out those that most closely align with the Islamic ideal
and working with them to deliver Design for Values to market
in a manner that delivers real change as quickly as possible.
One such organisation is Values Centered Innovation and their work may be a useful source to learn from.
Commercial Design and Innovation Tools
Tools such as Invention Machine Goldfire™ can play a role in efficient Innovation in Business and Academia. It is important that employees and students have knowledge of and access to the best tools available but it is an area that is often overlooked in favour of expensive outside experts. Both play a part and more value can be obtained from outside expertise if you are well informed.
"Product Overview Invention Machine Goldfire™, software for sustainable innovation, empowers engineers and scientists to conceive and validate the right ideas the first time, so they can quickly and easily deliver market-leading products. Only Goldfire brings repeatability and uniformity to the product innovation process. Powered by Invention Machine’s unique semantic research technology, Goldfire provides unprecedented access to proven scientific methodology and patent information, delivering precise and relevant information from various industries that help generate new ideas. This leads to accelerated product development and solves engineering challenges while eliminating risks associated with product innovation and new market entry. In short, Goldfire puts the right information in the right hands at the right time, fueling repeatable and sustainable innovation."
Patent Analysis is a useful source for new ideas. The previous link opens to an interesting look at patents in the area of desalination which shows a strong emphasis on alternative energy methods.
'WIPO Manual on Open Source Tools for Patent Analytics
Author(s): WIPO | Publication year: 2016
This manual provides information and step-by-step guidance for conducting various patent analysis tasks using a selection of open source tools.'
from World Intellectual Property Organization website.
Interesting Facts & Ideas
Interesting Fact 1
The 'Islam Advantage' The colour green has a special place in Islam and now research shows it may have a special place in innovation and creativity. Another intriguing example of the convergence of Islam and Science. Not to be taken out of context but it is still enjoyable to find these connections and for innovation to be successful it must be enjoyable. Happy people tend to be more creative, well unless they are poets!
"The present research sought to extend the nascent literature on color and psychological functioning by examining whether perception of the color green facilitates creativity. In four experiments, we demonstrated that a brief glimpse of green prior to a creativity task enhances creative performance. This green effect was observed using both achromatic (white, gray) and chromatic (red, blue) contrast colors that were carefully matched on non-hue properties, and using both picture-based and word-based assessments of creativity. Participants were not aware of the purpose of the experiment, and null effects were obtained on participants’ self-reported mood and positive activation. These findings indicate that green has implications beyond aesthetics and suggest the need for sustained empirical work on the functional meaning of green."
Interesting Fact 2
The Government of Malaysia has partnered with biosensor company NeuroSky to remotely monitor the health and wellness of Hajj candidates prior to their departure for Mecca. This initiative is in response to concerns about health issues occurring during this busy time, particularly as many people complete the Hajj later in life. The information gathered can no doubt help at an individual and societal level as it can provide valuable data on national health issues. Issues that may be exasperated by lifestyle, and dietary choices where food is halal but not tayyib and not produced under Design for Values guidelines.