Shun the incremental

You have just got to constantly focus on innovation. And more competitors. You’ve got to constantly produce more for less through intellectual capital. Shun the incremental, and look for the quantum leap.”
Jack Welch.

In the second last day of Welch-week, this quote has an interesting contradiction to the Six Sigma approach to incremental improvements that Jack Welch brought to General Electric. This program at GE certainly didn’t shun the incremental, but it did focus on innovation and did identify many quantum leaps.

There is room for both in almost every facet of OSS. There are incremental improvements waiting to be made in almost every aspect of every OSS. But there are also quantum leaps waiting to be discovered.

Many OSS frameworks are based on constructs that are two generations old (ie the nailed-up, structured data of PDH / SDH). The Internet Protocol (ie packet switched, no fixed path) generation has certainly stretched those constructs but the product evolution has continued. It is interesting to watch which vendors are most active in the next generation (ie SDN with separate planes of operation) and whether that will equate to the quantum leap that will separate them from their competitors.

I eagerly await a view of whether these next generations of OSS will still be built around constructs necessitated by the two previous generations of network technologies or whether new OSS data models will be invented that can cope with the legacy networks that still exist.

What constructs are you putting in place to encourage the incremental and quantum innovations within your OSS?

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