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12 More Essential Skills for Software Architects: Technology Innovation

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This chapter is from the book
This chapter from 12 More Essential Skills for Software Architects unveils one of the essential skills needed by a software architect: the ability to identify, assess, and infuse new and potentially disruptive technologies in a business-centric fashion.
  • “Innovation is the central issue in economic prosperity.”
  • —Michael Porter
  • “Innovation has nothing to do with how many R & D dollars you have. When Apple came up with the Mac, IBM was spending at least 100 times more on R & D. It’s not about money. It’s about the people you have, how you’re led, and how much you get it.”
  • —Steve Jobs
  • “Because, you know, resilience—if you think of it in terms of the Gold Rush, then you’d be pretty depressed right now because the last nugget of gold would be gone. But the good thing is, with innovation, there isn’t a last nugget. Every new thing creates two new questions and two new opportunities.”
  • —Jeff Bezos
  • “I believe in innovation and that the way you get innovation is you fund research and you learn the basic facts.”
  • —Bill Gates
  • “Learning and innovation go hand in hand. The arrogance of success is to think that what you did yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow.”
  • —William Pollard

Have you ever been at a conference and attended a really cool presentation? It focused your attention on a new area you were not familiar with, and it captured your interest. Later in the week, you noticed more sessions that were focused on different perspectives of the same technology or approach.

This kind of clustering of conference presentations—or magazine articles or blog posts—is usually a signal that a new trend is emerging. It may not have wide appeal yet, and it may not emerge into anything concrete, but it sounds fascinating and seems to address a real issue you are dealing with. Your ability to recognize these types of new trends can open up opportunities for your business and enable you to be a leader in the implementation of a new technology within your organization. On the other hand, the new opportunity could lead you down a rabbit hole with technology that has little support or interest from the wider development community internally or externally.

This chapter unveils one of the essential skills needed by a software architect: the ability to identify, assess, and infuse new and potentially disruptive technologies in a business-centric fashion.

Technology Innovation Defined

Technology innovation is the ability to

  • Look where research, technology, and your industry are heading
  • Identify trends and opportunities that are aligned with your business’s strategic goals and objectives
  • Partner with the business and customers to discover solutions
  • Make recommendations about the adoption of new technologies into the organization and their timing

Technology innovation is linked to the theory of Moore’s Law, which predicts the doubling of computing hardware capacity every two years. Many digital devices are impacted by Moore’s Law as processing power, memory, and other technical capabilities improve over time, speeding exponential growth and technology innovation.

Technology innovation is best done in partnership with the business to align with the company’s strategies and goals. It also helps ensure that technologies are not selected simply for their “cool” factor (see Figure 10.1).

Figure 10.1

Figure 10.1 Technology innovation

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